§ 3. Sir JOHN PENNEFATHER
asked the President of the Board of Trade if he can now state when the division will begin of the £300,000 set aside for belated reparation claims?
I regret that it is not possible to fix a date when the distribution of the £300,000 will be begun. The assessment of the large number of claims received is proceeding with all possible dispatch, and the distribution will be made as soon as practicable.
§ Sir J. PENNEFATHER
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that even a delay of a few days is a matter of great misfortune to thousands of those concerned?
I am afraid, with regard to the last question, it is not possible to deal at all fairly with it, inside the limits 218 of an answer. It is not quite true to state that the Commission ruled out all properties which were not insured—it is more complicated than that. With regard to the question of staff, I may say that a very considerable staff has been employed since 1st June upon these claims alone. I have given consideration to the question of whether an even larger staff could not usefully be employed and, on that point, I am bound to say I have not been able to see my way to ask for a larger staff, because this is business of a kind which cannot be dealt with by inexperienced clerks. I believe the work is going on as expeditiously as is possible with a mass of 35,000 claims. With regard to the question as to the few days' delay which is of such importance to these poor people, I am sorry to say the delay has been a long one but I am not responsible for it. We are tackling this matter with the utmost possible despatch and I hope we can begin the distribution in the Autumn, probably in October.