HC Deb 20 December 1963 vol 686 cc295-6W
Mr. Leavey

asked the Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development what reply he has made to the request of the British insurance interests to make representations on their behalf as a result of the proposal of the Government of Ceylon to make non-life insurance a monopoly of the Ceylon Insurance Corporation from 1st January next.

Mr. Heath

I have informed the British insurance interests of the steps which Her Majesty's Government have taken in this matter. When he was in Ceylon in September last my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations discussed this proposal with the Prime Minister of Ceylon and with the Minister of Finance. He made it clear that he greatly regretted that the Ceylon Government should wish to pursue a policy which would bring to an end over 100 years of British insurance services to the island, services which had worked to the manifest advantage of the economy of Ceylon. At the same time my right hon. Friend emphasised his concern at the possibility that compensation for the loss of their business prospects might not be paid to these important British interests. During his visit to Colombo in October these representations were pressed further by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations with Ceylon Ministers. Further representations have been made by correspondence.

Her Majesty's Government regret that these approaches have not so far evoked any recognition of the justice of the case which has been made. It is the earnest hope of Her Majesty's Government that an amicable settlement will be reached on the basis of a memorandum by the British insurers concerned setting out their claim. This memorandum is being submitted by the British High Commissioner to the Ceylon Government.