HC Deb 24 November 1938 vol 341 cc1916-7
13. Mr. Dalton

asked the Minister of Labour whether he will make a statement on the fire which has destroyed one factory and damaged another on the trading estate at St. Helen's, Auckland; and whether the Commissioner for the Special Areas will make good the loss or any part thereof, and will take steps to see that these factories are repaired and resume work as soon as possible?

Mr. E. Brown

I have not yet received a final report on this unfortunate accident, but, according to available information, a fire on the evening of 19th November destroyed all but the shell of a leather-goods factory at St. Helen's, Auckland, and occasioned considerable damage to the roof of an adjoining factory and some of its contents. I regret to say that, as a result, some 350 persons will be—I hope only temporarily—thrown out of employment. I should like to take this opportunity of expressing my sympathy with all who have suffered from this fire, which has occasioned an unhappy setback to two undertakings which have recently been established in this district with assistance from the Commissioner for the Special Areas. Arrangements are being made to expedite the work of repair and rebuilding, and the possibilities of providing temporary accommodation are being examined. The loss of plant, machinery and material within the factories is not a matter with which the Commissioner is directly concerned, but I am informed that it is in the main covered by insurance.

Mr. Dalton

So far as the damage was not covered by insurance, will the Commissioner be prepared to make good the loss so that work can start again as soon as possible?

Mr. Brown

I should like to see that question down in definite terms.

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