HC Deb 18 February 1941 vol 369 cc24-5
44. Mr. R. J. Taylor

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in paying compensation under the War Damage Act to persons of small means, pianos and sewing machines are considered a luxury and therefore not liable to rank for compensation; whether he will state the method of valuation, and when compensation is to be paid?

Sir K. Wood

No payments are being made under the War Damage Bill. The scheme which has been administered by the Assistance Board since June last is limited to the payment of compensation in respect of damage to essential articles. Pianos do not ordinarily come within this description. I am giving instructions that sewing machines shall be regarded as ranking for compensation. My hon. Friend will find a statement on the method of valuation in the reply given on 21st January to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for North Lambeth (Mr. G. Strauss). Payments by the Assistance Board in respect of essential articles are made currently. The time of making payments in respect of non-essential articles will depend on the arrangements authorised by Parliament in the legislation now before the House.

Mr. Denville

When a piano is part of a person's livelihood, such as in the case of a music teacher, would not that rank for compensation?

Sir K. Wood

Yes, Sir, but my hon. Friend will observe that I said that ordinarily they would not rank for compensation.

Mr. R. Gibson

Is a list of these essential articles available?

Sir K. Wood

I am afraid not.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

Who will judge in these matters? Will it be an official of the Assistance Board?

Sir K. Wood

Yes, Sir, but, of course, I give instructions from time to time.

49. Mr. Glenvil Hall

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the rates of immediate and subsequent compensation payable by the Assistance Board to the various classes of persons whose property has suffered war damage, showing, separately, the limits allowable for furniture, tools, clothes, costs of removal, and retailers' stock-in-trade; and whether it is proposed to publish this information?

Sir K. Wood

As the reply is somewhat long, I am circulating it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the reply:

The scheme which is administered by the Assistance Board provides for the payment of compensation to persons within the appropriate income limits on the following basis: —

  1. (1)Furniture. The value of the damage to the essential household furniture.
  2. (2)Clothing. The value of the damage to essential personal clothing.
  3. (3)Tools. The value of the damage to tools which are vital to the applicant's employment, subject to a limit in any one case of £ 50.
  4. (4)Retailer's stocks. The value of the damage subject to a limit in any one case of £ 50.

In certain circumstances removal expenses are paid within a limit of £ 10. The advances which are made at the time of application are governed by the applicant's immediate requirements. Applicants are asked to state what these are, and their replies of course depend largely on the extent of the damage and the size of their families. As regards publicity, a brief description of the scheme is given in the folder entitled "After the Raid" which has been circulated throughout the country by the Ministry of Information.