HC Deb 04 April 1927 vol 204 cc1674-6
45. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware of the many cases of hardship caused by the administration of the two sums put aside for reparation for enemy action, namely, £5,000,000 and £300,000, for belated claimants, owing to a number of claimants having been at sea abroad and unaware of the Regulations or not in a position to know the date by which their applications should have been put in; that the Prime Minister of the day gave an undertaking, soon after the Armistice, that the seamen would have first claim on the moneys received in reparation from Germany; and whether, in view of the increased reparation payments now being received from Germany, he will consider putting aside a further sum of money in respect of claims for compensation for damage by enemy action to British seamen, their widows, and other sufferers from enemy action?


I have been asked to reply. The answer is a rather long one, and perhaps the hon. and gallant Member will agree to my circulating it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

Certainly, but may I ask whether the long answer contains any satisfaction for my people who cannot get their money?


It is because I wish to give satisfaction to my hon. and gallant Friend that I am giving him a long answer.

Following is the reply:

The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. I am aware that a number of claimants were too late to have their claims considered against the £5,000,000 Fund, but most of them have received a grant out of the £300,000 Fund which was provided for solatia to belated claimants. I am also aware that a certain number of claimants notified their claims too late to be considered even against the £300,000 Fund. I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to paragraphs 13 and 14 of the Report of the Royal Commission on Compensation for Suffering and Damage by Enemy Action in 1924 (Cmd. 2066).

With regard to the rest of the question, I would point out that merchant seamen and their dependants, in addition to sharing in the payments from the funds referred to, have had the exclusive benefit of War Risks Compensation Schemes and other special war schemes which have been charged with payments that will amount in all to something like £11,000,000: and I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the answers given by the Prime Minister in this House on 14th December, 1925 (OFFICIAL REPORT, col. 967, Vol. 189,), and by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 22nd February last (OFFICIAL REPORT, cols. 1576–7).

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