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Administration Costs

Volume 436: debated on Wednesday 30 April 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the present revenue and expenditure of Palestine; to what extent is the cost of administration, including expenses, arising from maintaining large military, naval and air services in that country, borne by taxpayers in Palestine and this country, respectively; and what are the sums involved.

The estimated revenue and expenditure of Palestine for 1946–47 are £25½ million and £22 million respectively, but this estimate does not take into account several major items of expenditure such as the cost of the Cyprus camps, possibly amounting in all to £3 million, which will fall to be met from Palestine funds. The cost of civil administration, including the police, is borne by Palestine. The cost of military, naval and air forces is borne by Imperial funds with the exception of a contribution of £42,797 by Palestine in respect of the Trans-Jordan Frontier Force. Questions regarding the cost of military, naval and air services should be addressed to the Ministers concerned, but I would draw the hon. Member's attention to the answer given on 6th March to the hon. Member for Gateshead (Mr. Zilliacus) by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Will the Minister say if either of the first two figures he has given includes the cost of the administration of the Palestine railways?

Does not the Minister agree that the last answer provides an admirable illustration for His Majesty's Government that while it is always more honourable for any Government to keep its promises it is also sometimes cheaper as well?

Is not the basis of taxation per head in Palestine a good deal lighter than in this country, and how large is the bill for Armed Forces compared with the entire revenue of Palestine?

I should require notice concerning the amount of expenditure on the Services. Questions regarding the Armed Forces should be addressed to my Service colleagues.

Could not the Minister answer the first part of my question with regard to the rate of taxation?

I think that Palestine is heavily taxed at the moment, but how this compares with taxation here I cannot say.

Could not immense economy he effected and greater justice achieved if the Government reverted to their pre-governmental policy in this matter?

Who will bear the cost of compensating the dependants of British soldiers murdered in the course of their duties?