§ 56. Mr. SMITHERS
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether, in view of the fact that several pages of the "London Gazette" were recently devoted to the names of dead soldiers and airmen whose personal estate is held for distribution, and in view of the fact that a very small proportion of those affected have ever seen or heard of the "London Gazette." he will consider the advisibility of causing these lists to be posted in post offices and issued to the daily Press so that the friends of the deceased may have knowledge of their right to make claims upon these estates?
§ Mr. McNEILL
I am informed that under the provisions of the Regimental Debts Act every unclaimed balance due to an officer or a soldier is published once a year for seven years is the "London Gazette." It would not be possible, except at prohibitive cost, to publish these lists in full in the daily Press, but short advertisements are inserted at least six times a year drawing attention to the lists appearing in the "London Gazette," and giving instructions how claims are to be made.
In addition, arrangements are being made for the communication, through the provincial Press, of such information regarding unclaimed effects as is likely to be of interest in the particular locality. The exhibition in Head Post Offices of the full lists and of a short notice in all Post Offices was tried for several years, but the results did not justify the continuance of the practice.
§ Mr. SMITHERS
May I ask the Financial Secretary to take whatever stops are necessary to sue that this information is available to the public, and that as these circumstances are somewhat exceptional he will take exceptional means to meet them?
§ Mr. McNEILL
I do not know what further steps we can take other than those which I have described, but I shall be glad to receive any suggestions from the hon. Member.
§ Captain GARRO-JONES
May I ask whether the right hon. Gentleman has asked the Press to insert these lists without charge?