§ 29. Colonel Nathan
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he has received from any and, if so, which local government authorities, representations, in view of the recent decision of insurance companies not to undertake insurance of property against damage by a foreign enemy, urging upon His Majesty's Government the introduction of a scheme of national insurance to cover risks of that character; and what action His Majesty's Government proposes to take thereon?
§ 37. Mr. Joel
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware of the desire of property owners in London and all parts of the country that the Government should introduce some scheme to enable them to insure against the eventualities of war risks; and whether he can now take steps to draw up such a scheme, in view of the fact that no insurance company in Great Britain at the present time is prepared to provide insurance against such risks?
I have received a letter from the Wandsworth Borough Council to the effect indicated in the first part of Question No. 29. On the general principle involved, I would refer the hon. Members to the conclusion of the Government which was announced to this House by my predecessor on 4th May that no scheme of insurance of property in this country against war risks on land would be appropriate to the conditions of a future war so far as they can be foreseen to-day; and that, should the contingency arise, the question of putting into operation any scheme of compensation will be one for the Government of the day to decide in the light of the circumstances of the time. Consideration is now being given to the question of the preparatory work which can usefully be undertaken 712 in time of peace to facilitate the application of a scheme of compensation, in the event of such a scheme being decided upon.
§ Colonel Nathan
Is it to be understood that His Majesty's Government are not prepared now, or in the near future, to introduce legislation which would protect property, and the owners and lessees of property, against such damage?
It does not seem to me to be an appropriate subject for legislation; it is a matter for the decision of the Government at the time when the emergency arises.
§ Colonel Nathan
In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I will raise the matter on the Adjournment at the earliest opportunity.