HC Deb 29 March 1960 vol 620 cc121-2W
Mr. Arbuthnot

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will make a statement about the future of the Anglo-Egyptian Resettlement Board.

Mr. R. A. Butler

Yes. The Anglo-Egyptian Resettlement Board was established in February, 1957, under the chairmanship of Lord Colyton, for the relief and resettlement of British subjects fxom Egypt, and later became responsible also for the payment ofex-gratia loans under the schemes announced by the Government in July, 1957, and October, 1958. I am glad to say that nearly all the persons who came within the care of the Board have now been resettled and the bulk of payments under the loan schemes have been distributed. In these circumstances, the Government have decided, with the agreement of the Board and after making careful provision for its residual activities, to bring it formally to an end. with effect from 31st March. No provision has therefore been included in the Home Office Vote for a grant-in-aid to the Board in the next financial year.

I should like, on behalf of the Government, to pay a warm tribute to the great success with which Lord Colyton and his colleagues have carried out a difficult task and to express our gratitude to them and to the many voluntary organisations and individuals who have contributed to their work.

There remain only 24 persons for whom the Board sees no immediate possibility of resettlement. I am glad to say that the Anglo-Egyptian Aid Society and the Jewish Refugees Committee have agreed to assume responsibility for the further care of these people. Her Majesty's Government have authorised the Anglo-Egyptian Resettlement Board to make capital grants to these organisations to enable them to continue their help to refugees from Egypt.

As regards other residual matters, provision has been made for the Foreign Office to make any advances required in the next financial year to persons whose pension payments from Egypt may temporarily be held up, or whose applications for ex-gratia or other loans will not have been cleared for payment before the end of this month. The Board's rights to recover advances made from its funds are being duly assigned to the Government.

I may add that several members of the Resettlement Board have accepted duty on the Egyptian Compensation (Loans) Advisory Board which was set up by the Foreign Secretary in accordance with Article 3 (2) of the Foreign Compensation (Egypt) (Interim Distribution) Order, 1959, where their special knowledge and experience gained during service on the Resettlement Board will be put to good use.