HC Deb 28 February 1929 vol 225 cc2177-9

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the total claim by Southern Irish loyalists in respect to damage and loss sustained by them arising out of civil or military disturbances in Ireland; how much were the claims now settled reduced by inquiry or examined and accepted in settlement by persons making claims; and how many claims have been settled under £5,000, £10,000, £20,000, £30,000, and over, respectively?


I have been asked to reply. As regards the first two parts of my hon. Friend's question, which I assume is directed to the work of the Irish Grants Committee, I am afraid that, as I indicated in a reply given to the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy) on the 30th May, 1927, I could not give details of the total amount of the claims submitted to the committee, since a considerable proportion of the claims did not specify any particular sum. As regards the third part, the recommendations so far made by the Irish Grants Committee are as follow:

Over £30,000 1
Between £20,000 and £30,000 2
Between £10,000 and £20,000 6
Between £5,000 and £10,000 43
Under £5,000 1,802
Total 1,654


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will grant a return showing for each of the unsatisfied claims of the Southern Irish loyalists the date of lodging the claims and the nature of the damage; the amount originally claimed; the amount recommended by the Wood-Renton Committee; and the amount actually paid?


I have been asked to take this question. I have now considered both the particular suggestion made in the hon. Member's question and the more general inquiries made in the supplementary questions addressed to my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the House on 26th February. There is, I conceive, no ground on which any distinction could properly be made, so far as publication is concerned, between cases in which payment has been made in full and cases in which a balance will be payable under the decision announced by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on the 22nd of February. In the case both of the Compensation (Ireland) Commission and the Sumner Commission no such general list was published, and, in the absence of very strong reasons, His Majesty's Government would not be disposed to publish a list in the present case. No such reasons have been adduced, whilst, on the other hand, publication might very possibly be prejudicial to many of the persons concerned.


Are we to take it that the information which convinced the Government that these claims were bad is to be withheld, because the Government decided that they must grant the claims?


No, on the contrary, the Government have never assumed that they were bad. The Government allotted a certain amount towards the satisfaction of all claims to be distributed among them, but never had the view that the claims themselves were bad.


Was the Chancellor of the Exchequer in possession of information of this character when he made his speech in the House last week?

The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Churchill)

I have throughout been in possession of all the information that has been enjoyed by my right hon. Friend.


Does the right hon. Gentleman think it right that he should withhold from the House information which was in his possession and which led him to take a certain decision?


The hon. Gentleman is now repeating the question which has already been answered by my right hon. Friend.


Is it not reasonable to suggest that if people are to have money from taxation we should know who they are?