§ 34. Mr. ANDERSON
asked the President of the Board of Trade if he can explain why so much delay occurs in regard to the settlement of claims put forward by seamen who have lost their effects on ships sunk by submarine; and why letters on this matter forwarded to the Marine Department of the Board of Trade are frequently not even acknowledged?
§ Mr. G. ROBERTS
Claims made by seamen who have lost their effects on ships sunk by enemy submarines or mines are dealt with as rapidly as possible, and no avoidable delay occurs, as the importance of dealing with these claims expeditiously is fully realised. In the case of ships damaged but not sunk some delay may occur owing to the necessity of obtaining full information as to the loss or damage to the effects, and it is possibly cases of this kind which the hon. Member has in mind. If he will give me further particulars inquiries shall be made. As regards the second part of the question, with a view to paper economy, formal 188 acknowledgments of letters have to a large extent been discontinued by the Department.
§ 35. Mr. ANDERSON
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in the case of seamen who have lost their effects on ships sunk by submarine, the Government cover the men's risks to the extent of £5 and to the extent of £10 in the case of petty officers; whether, before paying this, the Government deduct the cost of clothes supplied to shipwrecked crews; whether he is aware that the deductions made render it impossible for the men to provide themselves with new kit; and whether he will see that the monetary payment is irrespective of any necessary clothing that may be provided?
§ Mr. ROBERTS
No deductions are made from the amounts paid to seamen under the Government scheme for insurance of effects, but in certain cases of ships lost on Government service, where allowances of the valued stated in the question are granted for procuring a new kit (including clothes), the cost of clothes actually supplied has been taken into account. If the hon. Gentleman has any particular case in mind where he thinks there is any cause for complaint, I shall be glad to look into the matter on receiving particulars.