§ 76. Commander KING
asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that hardship and distress is being imposed upon owners of house property recently occupied by troops on the East Coast of England by the delay in the settlement of their claims for dilapidation caused by such occupation and by the inadequate nature of the amounts usually offered in settlement; and whether he will arrange for the payment in full of all proved claims to be expedited, in view of the fact that many of the claimants are dependent on the letting of furnished rooms or houses for their livelihood and cannot afford to carry out the necessary repairs until their claims are paid?
§ Mr. FORSTER
A number of complaints on this subject have been received and have been engaging the attention of the Department. I am not aware that in general there is undue delay in settling premises for dilapidations in cases where premises are hired under agreements. Steps were taken some time ago to increase the staff engaged locally in dealing with such claims, and I understand that they are keeping pace with the work. In cases, however, where the premises are occupied under the Defence of the Realm Acts and Regulations, there has, unfortunately, been some delay; but this is due to the refusal of many of the owners to recognise the jurisdiction of the Defence of the Realm Losses Commission, to whom all claims arising out of military occupation have to be submitted. I am considering what means can be devised to meet the difficult situation thus created and for minimising any hardship or inconvenience to which the owners may be subjected in consequence of their refusal. I hope that the Department may very shortly be in a position to deal with outstanding claims to everybody's satisfaction. I cannot accept the suggestion that the amounts offered in settlement are usually inadequate.
§ Commander KING
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he considers offers of 30 per cent. and 50 per cent. as being adequate?