HC Deb 07 February 1934 vol 285 cc1138-9W

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs on what grounds it has been directed that married and unmarried British subjects in Egypt whose incomes exceed £325 and £250, respectively, shall, as from 1st January, 1934, pay an annual fee of £1 on registration as British subjects, in place of the fee of 5s. formerly paid on registration; and, as the increased fees, being based on income, constitute a tax, under what sanction of Parliament such tax has been imposed?


British subjects living in countries where His Majesty the King has extra-territorial rights enjoy, in addition to the assistance and protection extended in all foreign countries, a very special measure of consular protection and other privileges, entailing a correspondingly higher expenditure from public funds. As a condition of enjoying these advantages, such British subjects are required to register annually at the local British consular office and to pay a fee for doing so. The fee for registration was fixed at 5s. until recently when it was decided that, having regard to the present extent and cost of the privileges enjoyed, it was equitable that a higher fee should be paid in some cases. Article 166 of the Egypt Order-in-Council of 1930 was accordingly modified by the Egypt (Registration Fees Amendment) Order-in-Council of 1933 and now reads as follows: 166. Every person shall, on every registration of himself, and on every renewal of registration, pay a fee of five shillings, or such other fee as the Secretary of State from time to time appoints. The amount of the fee may be uniform for all persons or may vary according to the position and circumstances of different classes, if the Secretary of State from time to time so directs, but may not in any case exceed one pound. Directions have been issued, under the authority of this Article, that the registration fee should be increased to £1. These directions have been so framed that a lower fee would be levied on persons with small incomes. The Egypt Order-in-Council was made under and rests upon the statutory sanction of the Foreign Jurisdiction Acts.