HC Deb 04 August 1942 vol 382 cc851-2
54. Captain De Chair

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in view of the unprecendented circumstances attending the dislocation of whole populations in certain areas for battle training purposes, he will consider amending the Compensation Act so as to provide compensation in such cases for loss of profit where a person, so dispossessed, has been dependent for his livelihood upon a small business built up over a number of years, such as a shop or public-house and for which, under the present arrangements, he is to receive no consideration whatever?

Sir K. Wood

I have, as I have already informed my hon. and gallant Friend, been in close touch with the Departments immediately concerned with the consequences of the requisitioning of these areas, and I am satisfied that they are co-operating to do their utmost to minimise the hardship which the needs of the War Office have unavoidably created. I regret, however, that I cannot introduce legislation to provide special compensation for loss of profits. This kind of loss unfortunately arises in many ways as the result of the war, and the Government have frequently made it plain that it lies outside the scope of the compensation they have undertaken, or are able, to provide.

Captain De Chair

Is it not a fact that this is an entirely new set of circumstances and that my right hon. Friend is taking up the position of a chicken which stands hypnotised in front of a white line?

Sir K. Wood

I do not quite feel like that, but rather as the protector of the public purse.

Mr. Driberg

Is it not the case that compensation for goodwill to these small people would amount to only about one per cent. of the total cost of this evacuation?

Sir K. Wood

I could not say that. The hon. Member will realise that there would be very many repercussions.