§ 4. Sir E. CORNWALL
asked the President of the Board of Trade the value of the 1296 cash and property belonging to or debts due to enemies which have been vested in the Public Trustee, firstly, under an Order of the Court under Section 4 of the Trading With the Enemy (Amendment) Act, 1914, and secondly, under an Order of the Board of Trade under Section 4 of the Trading With the Enemy (Amendment) Act, 1916?
§ The FIRST COMMISSIONER of WORKS (Mr. Harcourt)
The value of the property vested in the Public Trustee by the Court is estimated at £4,500,000 and of that vested by the Board of Trade at £2,000,000.
§ 5. Sir E. CORNWALL
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that creditors of enemies whose property has been vested in the Public Trustee are unable to obtain payment of their debts in accordance with the provisions of Section 5 of the Trading With the Enemy (Amendment) Act, 1914, by reason of the legal or departmental difficulties raised by the Public Trustee, or the insufficiency of the official staff to deal with these cases, or by reason of the decision of the Court to regard the rights of creditors under this Section as entirely subsidiary to the provisions of the Act for preserving the property and money of enemies until the conclusion of peace, thus leaving the British creditors without any remedy, notwithstanding that sufficient enemy property and money may be held by the Public Trustee for payment of British debts; and will he say what action he proposes to take?
§ Mr. HARCOURT
The Public Trustee informs me that the realisation of the property vested in him, the settlement of questions relating to liens on the property and the investigation of the claims of creditors in the absence of the debtor necessarily involve considerable time, but that there is no avoidable delay on his part in the payment of the claims of the creditors of enemies.
§ 6. Sir E. CORNWALL
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he can facilitate or provide for further Departmental and legal assistance to be given to the Public Trustee to enable him to distribute with promptitude the enemy property and money in his hands amongst British creditors of that enemy who have proved their debts to the satisfaction of the Public Trustee, and without the delay of the vacations of the Courts?
§ Mr. HARCOURT
The Public Trustee informs me that the Departmental and legal assistance which he now has is sufficient to enable him to deal with the distribution of property vested in him amongst the creditors who have proved their debts, and that the vacations of the Courts will not interefere with such distribution.