§ 36. Mr. Kirkwood
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will take further steps to mitigate the sufferings of poor persons evacuated from their homes in Clyde side after enemy bombing, and in particular to repay them the money they must spend on the storage of their remaining goods, to enable them, to draw relief, not in kind but in cash, for necessaries of life, invalid diet and the like, and to increase billeting allowances for these victims of air raids?
The measures for the relief of persons rendered homeless by enemy action are constantly under review. The Minister of Home Security has asked local authorities to help homeless persons to remove and store their furniture where they are unable to do this themselves. Arrangements have been made by the Assistance Board for the immediate provision of relief in cash including where necessary allowances for exceptional needs. Billeting allowances are paid, not to the homeless persons themselves, but to the householders who receive them. The lodging allowances without board which are 5s. per adult and 3s. for each child under 14 have not been generally regarded as inadequate.
§ Mr. Kirkwood
Is my right hon. Friend not aware that the London County Council bear all expenses for storing furniture when the people are sent away?
Yes, Sir. That is in accordance with instructions that have been issued by the Ministry of Home Security in cases where the persons themselves do not desire to make their own arrangements for storing their furniture.
§ 37. Mr. Kirkwood
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is aware that, despite assurances given to him by the Factors' Association and the individual cases already remedied by him, cases still occur over a wide area where poor people are having rent demanded from them by factors for houses which have been demolished in the various bombings of Clydeside; and whether he will take further steps to make known to all the victims of air raids that protection will immediately be afforded to them against such demands?
The answer to the first part of the Question is in the negative. The town clerks of certain Clydeside burghs and the Secretary of the Property Owners' and Factors' Association of whom I have made inquiries are not aware of any case of this kind. But I shall, as my hon. Friend knows, be glad to look into any case of which he sends me particulars. As regards the second part of the Question, a Bill dealing with the rent to be paid in respect of houses suffering from war damage is at present before the House.
§ Mr. Kirkwood
Is my right hon. Friend aware that the difficulty is to get the factors to put it in writing, and what does he think of the following communication:
§ 3, Hume Street, Clydebank.
§ 13th June, 1941.
§ To Mrs. Cecilia Gillespie,
§ c/o O'Donnell, 6, Greenavenue, Kirkintilloch.
§ Dear Sir or Madam,—We shall be pleased to have early settlement of rent due by you for house at 5, Bruce Street, Clydebank. The amount due to 28th May, 1941, in advance, is £6 1s.—Yours faithfully, Hacking and Paterson."
I shall be glad if my hon. Friend will let me have those particulars, and I will lose no time in having inquiries made.
§ Mr. Buchanan
Is my right hon. Friend aware that in the Glasgow Sheriff Court the sheriff has decided that rent is payable for this class of house, and that certain factors have taken advantage of this; and will he make inquiries into the matter and see that the sheriff in question bears in mind common decency?
All I can say is that I have seen the circular in which the Property Owners' and Factors' Association have advised their members not to charge rent for any blitzed house which is not occupied.
§ Mr. Kirkwood
But this is signed by David Paterson, who is chairman of the Factors' Association. What do you propose to do about it?
I should be delighted if my hon. Friend would come and talk to me about it, and if there is any injustice, I will look into it.
§ 38. Mr. Kirkwood
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is aware that feu duty is still being claimed for land on which houses have been demolished by enemy action or are being pulled down as a result; and whether he will ensure that this practice is stopped in future, and that refund will be made to all persons who have already been obliged to pay?
I have received no representations about the matter referred to. Under Section 4 of the War Damage to Land (Scotland) Act, 1939, the court may, on application being made to it, modify or suspend any term of a disposition or feu charter where war damage has occurred to the land or buildings to which it relates.