HC Deb 24 October 1939 vol 352 cc1184-5
30. Mr. De la Bère

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in connection with the figure of £8,750,000, which was given as the total amount on the 9th October in connection with the commodities war risk insurance, he can explain the smallness of the amount; and whether he can give an assurance that the necessary insurances are being effected to comply with the legislation which has already been passed?

39. Mr. G. Strauss

asked the President of the Board of Trade how much has been received in premiums on the commodity insurance scheme; and what is the total amount payable?

The President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Oliver Stanley)

The total amount of the premiums paid up to yesterday in respect of policies issued under the commodity insurance scheme was £13,300,000. Some traders may have postponed payment of premiums pending the consideration of applications for exemption of certain classes of goods from compulsory insurance and may have taken advantage of the arrangements for payment of the three month's premium by monthly instalments. Precise information as to the total amount payable is not available; but, taking into account all relevant factors, I have no reason to think that any substantial number of traders are failing to comply with the law. Steps will, however, be taken to enforce compliance where necessary.

Mr. De la Bére

Is not this premium too high? Could my right hon. Friend give some basis on which it was arrived at, as there are many complaints that it is too high?

Mr. Stanley

The House will recollect that we debated this subject a few days ago in the House, and that I did then give the assumption. Also hon. Members will recollect that, in view of the fact that September passed without damage from air raids, arrangements have been made to make a repayment to traders in respect of one month's premium.

33. Mr. Markham

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he proposes to extend war risks insurance to works of art, including pictures?

Mr. Stanley

By the War Risks Insurance (General Exceptions) Order, dated 22nd September, 1939, goods of the general description referred to by my hon. Friend were declared not to be insurable under Part II of the War Risks Insurance Act, 1939. This decision was arrived at after consideration of representations from the interests concerned.

Mr. Markham

In view of the fact that the opinion of the interests concerned has changed, will my right hon. Friend reconsider the whole question?

Mr. Stanley

I could not do that. I had very long negotiations with these interests, and it was very strongly represented to me by all of them that they should be excluded from the Bill. That has now been done.