HC Deb 02 July 1940 vol 362 cc663-5
72. Captain Strickland

asked the Attorney-General what steps have been taken to give insurance cover for third party and other risks to all those Local Defence Volunteers and air-raid precautions workers who use their motor cars and motor cycles in the course of their duties and whose present policies do not cover war risks?

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for War (Sir Edward Grigg)

I have been asked to reply. I am informed by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary that Civil Defence workers required by local authorities to use their motor cars and motor cycles on duty are covered as regards third party and passenger claims and damage to their cars, except where due to war operations, by the Civil Defence policy. Compensation for loss or damage to their cars due to war operations may be claimed on the footing of requisitioned cars, in accordance with Section 4 (1) of the Compensation (Defence) Act, 1939. The position of vehicles used for Local Defence Volunteer purposes is somewhat different. Such use is permissive, and it is understood that the use of private cars for these purposes (except in connection with war operations) is generally accepted by insurance companies, within the cover and subject to any restrictions indicated on individual policies. Damage due to war risks is excluded by all types of policy, and damage coming under this head would normally fall to be dealt with under the Government scheme of compensation. Certain points in connection with Local Defence Volunteer use of cars are under further discussion with the insurers. Personal injuries received by volunteers, if arising out of and in the course of duty or due to war injuries, would fall under the Personal Injuries (Civilians) Scheme, 1939, or under the scheme of compensation for Local Defence Volunteers, as the case may be.

Captain Strickland

Would my hon. Friend bear in mind the urgency of coming to a decision with the insurance companies in view of the grave doubt that there is among local volunteer corps as to their position, and will he treat the matter as being urgent?

Sir E. Grigg

I do not quite understand, but, generally speaking, there is no doubt. Doubt arises only in regard to certain individual and limited policies. In that case the insured people must consult the insurance companies, although the Secretary of the Territorial Association will very gladly help them.

Sir T. Moore

Would not my hon. Friend again consider the point which was dealt with last week of having an unlicensed and laid-up car to each group headquarters of the Local Defence Volunteers?

Sir E. Grigg

Consideration is being given to that point, but there are objections to the use of unlicensed cars in an indiscriminate manner.