§ Second Reading Debate resumed.
§ 4.0 p.m.
§ LORD BARNBY
My Lords, the Order Paper states clearly that it is a Second Reading of a Bill which the noble Earl has moved, and I suppose it is natural that we are within our rights here in dealing with that Motion and should be able to state matters relevant to this case. I think it is unusual for a Bill to come before your Lordships after so many Questions and debates on the subject and at so late a stage in the term. I 1047 should like to record that this matter has received the persistent and unremitting support of my noble friend Lord Killearn and others, and, not least, massive support from the former Leader of the House, Lord Salisbury. He speaks with great authority and, to me, that authority is increased by the fact that I sat in this House under the Leadership of his father. It has seldom been that a matter of controversy like this has had the advocacy of a former Ambassador to Egypt, who must have a familiarity with the circumstances that is greater than most possess.
Grave hardship has been inflicted on a substantial number of people. It is well within the knowledge of the House that the subject falls under two headings—Egyptianised property and sequestrated property. It is particularly with regard to sequestrated property that my noble friend Lord Killearn has persistently addressed his attempts to obtain justice. I would associate myself with everything that has been said on that category, and I would not be backward in hoping that Her Majesty's Government will do their best in these cases of hardship.
It is, however, with regard to the Egyptianised property that I particularly want to say a few words. I would declare at once that I have no personal interest in this matter, but, as a former Member of the House of Commons for the City of Bradford, I have raised this point before, and raise it again, for a large company in Yorkshire, who are gravely harmed by the manner in which the response to their claim falls short. By that I mean that they have a claim for £1¾ million and look like getting not much more than 33 or 34 per cent. of that sun. I think that we should have a correct perspective. One part of it is compassion, and we all admit that that is deep.
§ VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord a question? I want to get the position clear. He has mentioned a particular case, and I do not ask him to reveal names; but he said that the total value of what they were claiming is £1¾ million and that they are likely to get no more than 33 or 34 per cent. How much of that claim includes property that was sequestrated?
§ LORD BARNBY
My Lords, I am dealing with the proportion of the claim 1048 In respect of Egyptianised property. Over and above the sum I have mentioned there is a total of £500,000 for sequestrated property. I said that I was addressing myself only to the Egyptianised side of the problem.
This matter goes back really to our uneasiness about whether the Government were being just in this matter. It goes back to the evacuation of the Canal Zone. Surely we must have lost a vast sum over that. Maybe it was a right decision, but it was challenged by many at the time. Then in Cyprus vast military works were installed, the cost of which again was lost. Then we went to Kenya and built large installations, which we now look like being denied in future. And it seems to me that this is a minor amount with which the Government are topping-up, in relation to the magnitude of the losses which have been accepted in the past, perhaps due to political expediency. It is a small amount in relation to the sums which were released by Her Majesty's Government at successive historical points without conditions about how the money should be spent.
I am prompted to bring this matter up again, not only because of the unfairness of the case which I have mentioned, but also because in that case, and in the case of Barclays Bank Overseas most of the people affected are in modest circumstances. In the case of the Bradford Dyers' Association, there are 15,000 shareholders, and their average holding is a very small sum. Therefore a pro rata distribution of compensation would have produced considerable solace to many quite humbly endowed people. In the case of Barclays Bank Overseas, I am assured that there is no shareholder, other than the parent company, who holds more than 1 per cent. of the shares; so that out of those 10,000 shareholders a great number are small people. Because of that, this proposed settlement is treating a group of people differently from the way they would have been treated in other circumstances.
Before I pass on, I would add that these grievous losses to big companies who established themselves abroad are surely the poorest encouragement to British companies to go and establish businesses abroad, the earnings of which, over the years, are the rivulets that swell the invisible earnings which flow into 1049 this country. The Government to-day are doing a great disservice by this discouragement of British enterprise abroad.
I now come to the question of principle. Many of your Lordships will have noticed in The Times the letter from the Chairman of Barclays Bank. It is quite an interesting letter, and in it he challenges it as inappropriate for the Government to have said that 90 per cent. of the claimants have received 100 per cent. of compensation. That seems a surprising statement for the Government to put out, when there are millions of sterling which have not received 30 per cent. But the point that the Chairman of Barclays Bank makes is that we are establishing a precedent, that there is one basis of compensation for the small and a different one for the large.
Let us take the export credits guarantee, in which the taxpayers' money is at stake. There are inevitably throughout the world cases of failure. Is it to be understood from this that the Treasury, who, after all, are the pinnacle of responsibility, are going to look with favour at a suggestion that as long as all the small people are paid it does not matter about the large ones? If in the collection of debts you are going to see that the small people pay their debts and the big ones do not, there will be some poor results for the Export Credits Guarantee Department. I feel that this is a dangerous precedent, and it is one against which I personally would protest with vehemence. That, I think, more than anything else, justifies these matters being brought up in this debate. In the case of Barclays Bank (again I declare no interest; I am not a shareholder), they are not going to receive 50 per cent. of their total claim. At present that amounts to 28 per cent. of the assessed claim or 5s. 7d. in the £.
I think it is timely when we are discussing this matter in this House that reference of this kind should be made. But, before I sit down, I should like us not to omit our thanks to the Foreign Secretary. I believe that throughout we have had his sympathy, and that he has done his best, with his colleagues in the Government, to bring justice to this cause. With these remarks I associate the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, who has worked so strenuously through these 1050 many months to answer the persistent queries and questions in this House: he, too, has also approached this matter with sympathy.
It is a sad ending, as I take it that this must be the ending. This action will be supported by a Money Bill which, I am told from the Table, we shall have no opportunity to discuss. It is probably right that this Bill should be hurried through, possibly getting the Royal Assent before the end of this Parliamentary term, so that the worst cases, at least, may have hope of relief before Christmas. But over these years claims for more equitable treatment have been advanced in this House, and it is indeed sad that at the termination we should find that the head of a great bank, which carries on British banking throughout the world, feels obliged to write a letter to The Times in these condemnatory terms. It is a sad termination of this matter.
I still hope that the noble Earl may see fit to suggest to his colleagues, if this be the end so far as we are concerned, that these big companies should get some alleviation—I say this without prejudice to their cases, because I have no authority to speak for them: say, the difference between their assessed losses and the compensation, a meagre 25 per cent. of 30 per cent., some part of that difference, if not all, should be allowable as a trading charge over a period of years in mitigation of their serious losses. Having had my opportunity to register my protest against this, I record my support for the passing of the Bill.
§ 4.15 p.m.
My Lords, I hope your Lordships will forgive me, because I have not been able to listen to the whole discussion and have only just managed to get here. I do not feel, in any case, that there is a great deal that any person with any sense of responsibility, who has taken any trouble to study this complicated matter over the seven years it has been going on—
I beg the noble Earl's pardon—could say, or ought to say, this afternoon. What frankly upsets me is the way this matter has been rushed through. We were given a statement last Tuesday. 1051 This is supposed to be a final settlement, and it is, I assure your Lordships, really an extremely complicated matter. How any noble Lord can get up in this House and say that it is a generous settlement, or, indeed, that it is not a generous settlement, I, for one, do not understand. I do not think that anybody has so far had any opportunity of studying the implications of this matter. For that reason, I personally deplore not necessarily what has been done, but the way it is being rushed through. I wish to be fair to the Government, and above all to my noble friend the Foreign Secretary, because of the enormous personal trouble I know he has taken to break down the Treasury. He has not said this in public or in private, but all of us who have had to do with these things know that it is the Treasury which one has to break down on these matters.
I wish to make a few quite minor points just to show how complicated I think this is. First of all, we are told that certain sums of compensation will do certain things. How anybody can say this at this stage I, for one, do not understand, since a large number of the claims have not yet been registered. How anybody can say that a certain sum of money is adequate to pay 90 per cent., 80 per cent., or whatever it may be, to the claimants I do not understand, and perhaps the noble Earl will tell us. As there are a large number of claims outstanding, I should like to know on what basis of calculation that can be done.
Then, let us take for a moment the nationalised claims. I agree that, except for the larger bodies involved, the big firms, on the face of it, it would appear that the settlement for those whose property was nationalised is not ungenerous—though Mr. Crossley, of Barclays Bank, said, I think, that it is a disturbing precedent to say that there is one law for the poor and one for the rich to the extent that it is being said to-day. In other words, if you have a big claim, that is too bad, but if you have a small claim, that is all right. I am all for priorities where compensation is limited, but when it is cut down to the lower reasonable levels and the priorities are as heavy as they are in this case, I am not sure that this is justice or good law.
1052 When we come to the sequestrated people, then we have a much more complicated and difficult problem. One of the things which have made it difficult for those of us who have been trying to help the claimants, and which have confused the Whole issue, is the fact that there are, virtually speaking, no figures available at all for the total value of sequestrated property in Egypt. I think the only estimate I have ever seen was in a statement made by the noble Viscount, Lord Amory, when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he was asked a Question in another place about this. He gave it as his opinion that the total value of sequestrated property in Egypt was of the order—this was just after Suez—of £130 million. If from that you deducted the Shell claim, which amounts to about £50 million, and which was settled separately, you would get a total value of about £80 million for the total sequestrated property in Egypt. If that is the case, and we look at the total claims put in for sequestrated property, your Lordships will see that there is a discrepancy of the order of £68 million.
I do not know what deductions or conclusions one draws from that. It is an enormous gap. Even if one assumes that every single claimant who made a claim deliberately and fraudulently doubled the value of his property, there is still an enormous gap. It means, therefore, that in effect—and this is because of the terms of the 1959 agreement, whereby, to begin with, people were allowed to claim only for damage between 1956 and 1959 which is difficult to estimate—many of them have still not got their properties back in 1962. There is, therefore, an enormous residual amount in respect of sequestrated claims. I should not be surprised if that were due to the fact that people cannot get rid of their properties. If the residual amount is the difference between £12 million and £40 million (half of £80 million) that would be the value of properties remaining frozen in Egypt for which these people can get nothing in sterling. They cannot get them out. They can make no use of them. Therefore when we compare the treatment of these people with the treatment given to those who have been lucky—the luck, I say, to have had their properties nationalised—then I must 1053 confess that I have the gravest doubts whether this is a fair settlement.
We are told that this is a final settlement, and one of the questions I should like to ask the noble Earl is whether, without any opportunity of really going into the facts and figures, we are now being asked to accept this finally, lock, stock and barrel, for better or for worse. The noble Earl must know that we are not going to vote against it—we will not vote against anything which by one jot or tittle improves the lot of these unfortunate people. It is hard in these conditions after six years, to be asked to accept this settlement, once and for all, without any opportunity for proper study. Personally, I do not wish to criticise the Government, because I do not feel that I have had enough opportunity to ensure how good or bad this final settlement is. What I am saying to the noble Earl is that I do not think we ought to have a pistol held to our heads this afternoon and be told, "You must vote for this, because it is all you are going to get", until we have had proper time to study it. I should like to ask the noble Earl if he will tell us, when he replies, whether this is the last opportunity we shall have to discuss this matter, or whether, having had time to give it the study it deserves, we may come back and ask the Government to reconsider it.
§ 4.24 p.m.
§ LORD BALFOUR OF INCHRYE
My Lords, I owe your Lordships an apology for being unable to be present when the Minister moved the Second Reading. I will not detain your Lordships for more than a few moments, but having taken some part over some years in this trouble I should like to raise two points with the Government. This, is an enabling Bill, and it is in respect of Clause 2 that I should like to raise the first point, which concerns the repayment of the advances which have been made to these people who have suffered.
I wonder whether the Government would consider introducing some measure of standardisation as to what should be claimed from these people. Many of them have had to use this capital sum as income for their living for three, four or five years past. Could the Government consider giving a direc- 1054 tion that claims for repayment of advances should be based on some such line as this: that you should take the average standard of life of that particular man and his family, and the expenditure which such standard of life would normally entail, and say that that standard has had to be maintained for two, three or four years out of the capital sum which has been advanced as a loan; and that such standard of life for two, three or five years' expenditure should be written off, as it were, against repayment of the loan? In that way, we should in some way relieve those who have been forced to live upon capital for a period of years when they could reasonably have expected, in other circumstances, that that would not be necessary.
The second point is this. It seemed to me that the prospects for these people, in respect of their sequestrated property, still depend very largely upon the good will and good actions of the Egyptian Government. Parallel with the passage of this Bill, will Her Majesty's Government give an assurance that they will bring renewed pressure to bear upon the Egyptian authorities to clean up and speed up the administration of the release of the sequestrated properties, so that, at any rate, the hopes of this Bill may be justified for those who are affected by it?
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS
My Lords, I should like to intervene for one moment in this debate, because I have from time to time in the past used the Motions of my noble friend Lord Killearn as a means of discussing a problem that is similar to that which your Lordships have been thinking about this afternoon, that is, of the people who are compendiously known as the 1951 officials. I think I should put it on record that the terms of the settlement which have now been reached for them seem to me to be most reasonable and generous in amount, and in the terms upon which it has been given. I should therefore like to thank my noble friend Lord Dundee for what Her Majesty's Government have done for them. I know that they themselves are very grateful, and all I will add is that I am thankful that for these people it means the end, not of seven but of eleven years of uncertainty, tribulation and misery.
§ 4.28 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
My Lords, I think that part of the speech-making on the other side of the House this afternoon has been directed at me, because I said, in reply to a statement the other day, that I thought that, on the whole, the settlement was pretty generous. I have not changed from that view. I think the pressure that was brought upon the Egyptian Government led to the advancement of a sum that at one time we had no real hope of getting. That was the original pressure from the Government. I gather that the £27 million which was at the basis of that settlement has been in hand for some time, and that interest has been added to it. It is true that the Government did something we did not like very much, in that, acting on the basis of precedent, they charged income tax upon that interest when it was received. Nevertheless, that brings the sum available up to about £29 million, in addition to which the Government have offered in the terms of what was explained to us the other day, just under £10 million—which is equal, I think, almost to 2d. in the £ on income tax in this country—in order to deal with certain cases which were enumerated.
I entirely agree with the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, on one point: that it is almost impossible to form a complete and just judgment unless one is familiar with the great majority of the individual claims made; and that is almost impossible for ordinary Members of your Lordships' House. Nevertheless, I have known of cases in days gone by which were far less generously treated than here.
I hold a different view about the sequestrated properties from that which is held apparently by some noble Lords on the other side. You have to consider (at least I consider) what would be the attitude of any Government in the future: what should be done in cases where there is no doubt about the hardship arising, and those who hold sequestrated properties. I entirely support what the noble Lord, Lord Balfour of Inchyre, said: that we should try to get that part cleaned up as early as possible. Nevertheless, the property is still entitled as the property of those who hold it. As I 1056 understand it, some of the owners of them have actually gone back to their property. Information is not available to Members of your Lordships' House to show why it is impossible for others, perhaps in the future, to go back to their properties and to use them. I quite understand that at the present moment much of that sequestrated property could not be sold—sold reasonably, at any rate—and I think under the sequestration there is some limitation put upon the annual amount which can be taken out from it. All those are difficulties which I fully accept and appreciate.
But I felt bound to weigh up in my mind, on the other hand, the fact that there would also be cases within that group and I find, evidently, that there were strong representations made. I was sure that it was from those of the Foreign Secretary that the special addition of £2½million was made to their proposals in order to be able to do something for the hardship cases connected with sequestration. Taking all those things together, I do not think I was being quite unreasonable in suggesting that I regarded the settlement as "pretty generous"—I qualified it, but perhaps my adjective was taken a little the wrong way. I wanted to see this Bill passed before Christmas because there are still some outstanding things to be done. We have to try to put the record right with regard to what has been paid out before and what is due to be taken from the amalgamated fund of the Nasser payment. We have to get that right. But far more urgent to me is to see that any of the 90 per cent. of the claimants who are getting 100 per cent. will receive the balance of what is due to them without a further long wait. I think this is a point that I can legitimately make to the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, in the case which he put to the House, with which I am not quarrelling. I am just saying that that is a factor to be taken into account.
What the future will be of the values of the sequestrated property no one can judge at the present moment. But I hope that, if we develop the right relations in the Middle East, there will be in the future, so long as these people remain the title-holders, some opportunity for recoupment. In the meantime, I do not wish to criticise the Government for what they have done so far, and if there are any 1057 further representations to be made at a later date I am sure that I and Members of your Lordships' House opposite are always prepared to give them consideration. But I hope that this Bill will not be held up.
My Lords, before the noble Viscount sits down I wonder whether he would forgive my saying a word in order to put one thing straight. I did not want to interrupt him before. What I was trying to say to the noble Viscount—I think he misunderstood me—was that I did not wish to criticise the Government at this stage as to how good or bad this is. What I was trying to explain is that we have two classes of people here and into which category any individual fell was due to fate; and I am complaining that when we have the two classes of people one is treated a great deal better than another, and I am not sure that that is right.
§ 4.34 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF DUNDEE
My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Viscount opposite for adhering to his first impression which he gave following the Foreign Secretary's statement last week that this settlement is a fairly generous one. I am also grateful to him for replying, as I think he did, very reasonably and correctly, so far as our information enables us at present to be correct, on the question of those owners of desequestrated property some of whom cannot get any assets out of Egypt. I shall not pursue that, as the noble Viscount was replying to a number of your Lordships who had spoken on it, and I think lie replied very well. But I shall not pursue it because it is, of course, entirely outside the scope of the Bill, and I am sure that we shall have further opportunities if your Lordships desire to deal with it further. I am also grateful to those of your Lordships who have paid some tribute to my noble friend the Foreign Secretary for the endeavours which he has made for so long to obtain a settlement of this very difficult question.
I shall be as short as I can in replying to the more salient points which various of your Lordships have raised. My noble friend Lord Killearn was the first of your Lordships to speak, and I do not know who it was who told him that he would be shot if he spoke for more than fifteen 1058 minutes. If that were the rule I am afraid the number of your Lordships would be rather depleted.
§ LORD KILLEARN
My Lords, I can assure the noble Earl that I was given that information last night. I will not say by whom, but it was somebody in a very high place.
§ THE EARL OF DUNDEE
Since my noble friend will not reveal the source of this threat, I Should like to make it clear that it was nothing whatever to do with me. When I had the honour and privilege of being my noble friend's guest in Cairo twenty years ago we got up several times at four o'clock in the morning, and when we came back at midday we had shot 700 or 800 duck; and I have always thought of my noble friend as a creature who shoots rather than one who is shot.
My noble friend asked a number of questions about loans, as did also my noble friend Lord Balfour of Inchrye. There are only two firm figures that I can give your Lordships about this: that is to say, the number of loans which have been made and the number of repayments which have been received. The number of loans which have been made to claimants up to the present time is £7,379,439. The amount taken back has been £1,356,684; that is roughly 7.3 to 1.3. But I can tell my noble friend this: that, by and large, no repayments of these loans have been made except by way of deductions from payments to claimants, and there is no automatic scale of deduction. The recoveries are determined on the recommendation of the Egyptian Loans Advisory Board, which is an independent body and which examines each case on its own merit. I will certainly take note of what my noble friend Lord Balfour of Inchrye suggested about some application of a graded means test, but I think that is probably what is done. The amount of debt deducted from the award which is made to the claimant need not necessarily be, and is not always, as much as the amount of the loan which has previously been advanced to him.
§ LORD KILLEARN
My Lords, I wonder whether I might ask—the noble Earl probably knows the answer—whether there are any cases where the award has been totally absorbed by the repayments.
§ THE EARL OF DUNDEE
No, there are hardly any cases in which the award has been totally absorbed by the repayment, and in many cases the repayment has been less than the amount advanced. There are 4,000 or 5,000 of these advances which have been made. I endeavoured to get as much information as I could, and I cannot at the present time give any more figures or any more information than that I have just given your Lordships about this question of loans.
My noble friend also went back a good deal on the question of the Government's previous statements about this matter. I do not want to go into that subject. I would ask my noble friend to study the previous debates we have had on this question, especially that on July 26, because we really have gone over these arguments time and again and it is not the case that the Government have ever undertaken, or indeed could have wider-taken, to accept a commitment to make good losses suffered by British subjects in foreign countries. All that the Prime Minister and various Chancellors of the Exchequer have undertaken to do is to try to get what they could from the Egyptians. Also the Prime Minister undertook that they would not rule out the possibility of what is called "topping-up", which is what my noble friend the Foreign Secretary announced last week.
§ LORD KILLEARN
My Lords, it is a very contentious matter, I know. What the Prime Minister said and what the Foreign Secretary said are on record in the columns of Hansard, and there is no getting away from that.
§ THE EARL OF DUNDEE
That is just what I complain of. They are on record. On July 26 I quoted them at length verbatim, and they do not support the contention that the Government have ever undertaken to pay from the money of the British taxpayer these claims in full. I hope that this charge will not continue to be made because it really is one without foundation.
§ THE EARL OF DUNDEE
If my noble friend were right in his contention, I should not understand the English language either. But I do not want to 1060 take up your Lordships' time, although I have got them here, by quoting these long passages from Hansard from 1957 until last year all over again.
My noble friend Lord Barnby raised the question of equitable balance between the larger and the smaller claimants. I think that would be a sound argument only if there were some obligation to pay all the claimants in full and if we were depriving the larger claimants of something to which they had a right. But these awards are not questions of right; they are questions of trying to relieve hardship, and when you do that I think it is reasonable that you should have a scale which will recoup a higher proportion of losses to those who have least. The claims of those who exceed £1 million or £2 million will be greatly improved in fact by the new scale which the Foreign Secretary explained to your Lordships last week.
On the first £10,000 of large claimants' assessed losses the payment is to be 100 per cent.; before that it was 90 per cent. on the first £5,000. And, of course, the larger claimants benefit by that. On the next £40,000 they are to get 75 per cent. which compares with 60 per cent. up to the first £60,000 on the former scale. On the next £450,000 they are to receive 50 per cent.; on the next £500,000, 30 per cent.; on the next £1 million 25 per cent. And these new scales all compare favourably with the scales under the last Order in Council, which means that although the people with very large claims do not get any more on the excess of their property over £2 million pounds, they do get a substantial amount more on what one may call the lower tranches of the claim; so they benefit from the new scales.
§ LORD BARNBY
While the noble Earl is still on figures, could be give some indication, having recorded that 90 per cent. receive 100 per cent., what is the global amount falling within the 10 per cent. which falls short of the total, the 10 per cent. between the assessment and the total claimed?
§ THE EARL OF DUNDEE
I think I could. I have not got it here. I gave it to your Lordships two years ago, if I remember rightly, and I do not think the proportion has altered very much, although there have been more claims 1061 since then. A very large fraction of the total amount of claim was in fact put in by the larger claimants, a surprisingly large amount; but most of them are very large companies which, with the exception of one or two in which I know my noble friend is interested, they have long ago written off their Egyptian losses. My noble friend Lord Killearn then made a point which would be a more serious one if it were substantiated. He said he did not accept the statements of the Foreign Secretary that 90 per cent. of the claimants would get 100 per cent. of their claims.
§ LORD KILLEARN
My Lords, I should like to correct that. I did not say that I did not accept it, but I understand those who are much more technically equipped than I am say that; I am not equipped, not qualified.
§ THE EARL OF DUNDEE
In that case, if there is any doubt about it, I hope that it will be raised again, because the Foreign Secretary made that statement upon the best authority, which I think is good authority. I hope if there is any doubt about this in the mind of any of your Lordships it will be raised again when the Order in Council is debated.
Finally, several of your Lordships raised the question of time. It is not altogether the Government's fault that it is six years before we have produced this settlement, because a large number of these claims have taken, first of all, a very long time to formulate, and then a very long time to be considered; and although I would not say that we could not have been a little more expeditious at some times than we have been, owing to shortage of staff perhaps, I do not think you can expect a very complicated calculation of nature dealing with thousands of claims from all kinds of different people to be done in a very short time. Then there was the converse criticism or complaint that now we have got the proposal formulated and put before Parliament it was done at the end of the Session lin rather a hurry. As the noble Viscount, Lord Alexander of Hillsborough, said, the quicker we now proceed the sooner the claimants wild be able to get their money. We have to allow a certain interval before the Order in Council, and then there has to be a certain interval before the first pay- 1062 meats are made after the Order in Council has been laid, and I think we should have been very wrong, especially in view of the fact that these claims have taken so long to formulate, if we had not taken action to get the final settlement of the Egyptianisation claims made as quickly as possible.
My noble friend Lord Lloyd asked me another question. He would not have done so if he had been here earlier, because I made plain that the Orders in Council to give effect to these payments will be Affirmative Orders which must receive an Affirmative Resolution of both Houses, and there will therefore be an opportunity—the noble Lord asked whether there would be—for discussing them again soon after the Christmas Recess. I hope that your Lordships will now see your way to give the Bill a Second Reading.
§ LORD BALFOUR OF INCHRYE
My Lords, before my noble friend concludes, might I ask him whether Her Majesty's Government will continue to make strong representations to the Egyptian Government that they should speed up the efficiency of their administration?
§ THE EARL OF DUNDEE
Well, my Lords, my noble friend will remember that last July the new loan arrangement was made with Egypt under which the payments agreed to under the 1959 Agreement (which do not come under this Bill because it affects only the payments of £E5,000 to owners of desequestrated property) will, I think, be paid at the earliest time which is practicable. With regard to the Egyptianised property, that, of course, is not now a question for the Egyptian Government, because that is paid out of the £27½ million, which has increased to £29½ million by accumulated interest, and now to about £36 million by this new topping-up proposal.
§ On Question, Bill read 2a: Committee negatived.
§ Then, Standing Order No. 41 having been suspended (pursuant to the Resolution of December 13):
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 3a.—(The Earl of Dundee.)1063
§ LORD BARNBY
My Lords, at this stage of the Bill may I ask the noble Earl, in relation to a statement that I understood he made, whether there will be any opportunity to discuss the money clauses in this matter in this House? I thought that the noble Viscount the Leader of the Opposition expressed a hope that it would be concluded by the conclusion of these stages, and that presumably payments would begin to be made. Are we right in understanding that the matter will still be capable of being reopened in the next Session of Parliament?
§ THE EARL OF DUNDEE
Not this Bill; nor the money clauses of this Bill. If it were, that would be a question of privilege, because it has been certified by the Speaker of the House of Commons as a Money Bill. In any case, the Bill is one to enable monies to be voted by Parliament and paid under the Orders in Council, which have not yet been introduced but which we shall, of course, have an opportunity of discussing.
§ LORD KILLEARN
My Lords, I do not want to seem completely stupid about this, but surely there are no money clauses in the Bill; it is simply an enabling Bill, to which there is no objection at all. There are no money clauses, are there? That matter comes under the Orders in Council.
§ THE EARL OF DUNDEE
My Lords, this Bill has been certified as a Money Bill by the Speaker of the House of Commons. It is a Money Bill. If your Lordships were to amend the Bill the House of Commons would be entitled to reject the Amendments without giving any reasons, and then to pass the Bill without sending it back again to your Lordships.
§ LORD KILLEARN
Quite so. I was simply saying that there was nothing for us to amend. There are no money clauses in the Bill.
§ On Question, Bill read 3a, and passed.