§ 57. Mr. LESLIE SCOTT
asked the Prime Minister whether the Government intend that the losses necessarily caused to individual persons and companies, either by enemy attack or by the taking of land or premises or other operations of the naval or military forces for the purpose of defence, should be left to lie upon the shoulders where they fall in the first instance or, being incurred for national purposes, should be borne by the nation as a whole; and, if the latter, whether they propose to make any statement in regard to the basis and machinery of compensation or to introduce some State system of war risk insurance against such losses?
§ The PRIME MINISTER
As regards the question of payment for injury done by the King's enemies, I cannot add anything to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for the St. Augustine's Division of Kent on the 4th instant. The same considerations apply to injury done by His Majesty's forces in resisting actual attack. As regards loss arising out of occupation of land or buildings by the naval and military authorities, or out of the construction of defence works against possible contingencies, the principle of payment for direct pecuniary loss incurred has been accepted, and payment has been made in a number of cases.
§ Mr. RONALD M'NEILL
Will Lord Parmoor's Committee be able to consider claims arising from damage as well as occupation? [See subsequent correction, col. 1327.]
§ 58. Mr. BARNES
asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware that, as a result of the War, numbers of occupiers of business premises are having to discharge their employés and vacate the premises on account of their being unable to pay the ordinarily high rents; that in a number of cases, particularly in the West End of London where the property is leasehold, the property owners have expressed willingness to reduce the rents by half provided there is a corresponding reduction in the ground rents, but that the ground landlords have refused to agree to this; and whether the Government will consider this matter and see whether any steps can be taken to meet this difficulty and enable the policy of business as usual to be carried out wherever possible?
At present the Board of Trade have no official information with regard to the class of property referred to, but if my hon. Friend can supply me with some particulars I shall be glad to consider them.