HC Deb 03 August 1965 vol 717 cc1260-2
23. Sir J. Foster

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will take steps to make remittances to residents in the United Kingdom in respect of restitution and indemnification resulting from Nazi persecution eligible for sale through the investment currency market.

31. Sir B. Janner

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will reintroduce the dollar premium for restitution and compensation payments to victims of Nazi persecution, in view of the fact that these payments do not represent newly-acquired assets but the replacement of spoliated objects and should be treated in the same way as funds accruing from the sale of investments to which, according to the Exchange Control Regulation of 4th May, 1965, the dollar premium is applicable.

Mr. MacDermot

No, Sir.

Sir J. Foster

Does the hon. and learned Gentleman realise that these unfortunate people who have been severely persecuted and have suffered grave injury to their health are really receiving money in compensation for their investments? Does he realise the existence of the anomaly that if they had received shares instead of money they could sell the shares on the investment currency market? Will the hon. and learned Gentleman reconsider the position?

Mr. MacDermot

As the hon. and learned Member knows, if they sold their shares on the investment currency market they would still be subject to the measures introduced by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor. The hon. and learned Gentleman also knows, I think, that my right hon. Friend gave sympathetic consideration to representations which were made on this subject but that he did not feel that there was any way in which he could single out this class for special treatment compared with all the other categories of receipts which were formerly saleable as investment currency and which are now subject to the new procedure.

Mr. Sydney Silverman

Does my hon. and learned Friend bear in mind that there is wide and considerable support for this proposal in many circles which have nothing whatever to do with party affiliations or anything of that kind, and does he also remember that this matter has been canvassed year after year for many years during the days when we sat on the benches opposite and that many influential members of the Labour Party supported it? Having regard to the natural justice of the case, would he not consider the matter again?

Mr. MacDermot

Yes, as I have indicated, we accept that there is widespread sympathy for these claimants, but I would point out that the fact is that they have up to now been in a better position, for example, than British claimants against the Egyptian Government who have never been able to sell their compensation as investment currency. So far as I know, this has not given rise to any complaints.