§ 2.42 p.m.
§ LORD KILLEARN
My Lords, I beg to ask the Private Notice Question, the text of which is already in the hands of the Government. As it has not been circulated perhaps the House will allow me to read it. It is: To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress has been made in arrangements to pay the claims of British subjects whose property in Egypt has been "Egyptianised" or sequestrated?
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
My Lords, since the Order in Council of April 6, 1959, which provided for the Foreign Compensation Commission to receive and assess the claims in question some 590 claims have been presented and the Commission is in a position to make preliminary assessments in some cases. Her Majesty's Government are anxious to begin to make payments as soon as possible and an Order in Council on this subject has been laid before Parliament this day. It provides for interim payments in respect of assessed claims to be made according to a sliding scale. 749 These payments can be made, as soon as their claims have been established before the Foreign Compensation Commission, to all claimants who have not received loans from Her Majesty's Government.
Where, however, claimants have already received loans from Her Majesty's Government, there remains the question of the extent to which these loans should be deducted or taken into account in making the interim payments. Such loans, like any others, are of course prima facie repayable, but Her Majesty's Government are aware that there may be cases where strict insistence on this general right of recovery would create serious hardship and inequity between various classes of claimant. They will therefore be prepared, in cases where the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs is so advised by an Advisory Board to be set up for the purpose, to remit the whole or a part of the obligation to repay the loan; and the Order in Council has been so drafted as to give Her Majesty's Government the necessary latitude. Sir George Rendel, whose experience in regard to such matters will be known to your Lordships, has consented to act as Chairman of the Advisory Board. It is also proposed to invite members of the Anglo-Egyptian Resettlement Board to join this body so that we may benefit from their experience.
§ The sliding scale is as follows:
|Where the amount of the loss assessed by the Commission under the Determination Order||The sum calculated shall be|
|(1) does not exceed £5,000||70 per cent. of the amount assessed|
|(2) exceeds £5,000 but does not exceed £10,000||£3,500, and 50 per cent. of the balance of the amount assessed over £5,000|
|(3) exceeds £10,000 but does not exceed £25,000||£6,000, and 25 per cent. of the balance of the amount assessed over £10,000|
|(4) exceeds £25,000…||£9,750, and 5 per cent. of the balance of the amount assessed over £25,000.|
§ LORD KILLEARN
My Lords, while I am grateful for the reply of the noble and learned Viscount, which will be read with appreciation by all concerned with 750 these outstanding claims, may I ask Her Majesty's Government to remember that many of these British nationals are still suffering grievous loss; and will Her Majesty's Government continue their efforts in all and every direction possible to help these sufferers?