HC Deb 20 June 1939 vol 348 cc2014-5
57. Mr. Cocks

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is now in a position to publish the details of the various Government schemes announced on 31st January, for, in the event of war, giving compensation in respect of civilian casualties, giving compensation to damaged property on land, arranging for the emergency reconstruction of such property, and insuring essential stocks; and when will the necessary legislation be introduced?

Sir J. Simon

The compensation to be paid in respect of civilian casualties and the arrangements to be made for the emergency reconstruction of essential property will be the subjects of legislation to be introduced if and when an emergency arises, and it is not proposed to publish further details in the meantime. As regards damage to private property on land, other than essential commodities, I indicated in my statement of 31st January that compensation would be payable at the end of the emergency. While the administrative arrangements for assessing the damage are now in preparation, legislation will not be necessary until the time for any payments arrives. The insurance of stocks of essential commodities will be the subject of legislation which my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade hopes to introduce in the near future, but, as he indicated in his reply to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for the Handsworth Division of Birmingham (Commander Locker-Lamp-son) on 5th June, he is not yet in a position to name a date.

Mr. Cocks

With regard to the question of damage to property, is the Chancellor of the Exchequer aware that a good deal of uncertainty prevails on this matter, and will not the Government state in rather more detail what they propose to do about it?

Sir J. Simon

I think the statement which has been made is quite clear and easy to understand, but I recognise, as the hon. Gentleman has said, that a number of people would very much like it if we were able to go further and do more.