HC Deb 08 July 1942 vol 381 cc773-5
57. Sir W. Davison

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware of the serious hardship still suffered by individuals by reason of the fact that powers to requisition premises are given to a large number of Ministries and public bodies, whereby individuals who have had one set of premises requisitioned and obtained others, shortly after have these premises also requisitioned; and whether he will arrange for all requisitioning to be done through one Ministry, such as the Ministry of Works and Planning, who would have all the facts before them in connection with each case?

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Captain Crookshank)

Departments as far as possible avoid hardship and economic loss when requisitioning, and the fact that an occupier's former premises had been requisitioned is taken into consideration. A certain amount of disturbance and inconvenience are, however, I fear, inevitable. As regards the second part of the Question, it is impracticable to centralise the power to requisition and so deprive the competent authorities specified in Defence Regulation 49 of that power. It is also essential to delegate powers of requisitioning to local authorities to enable them to discharge their vital wartime duties. The Ministry of Works, however, does, in fact, to a large extent requisition accommodation for other Departments.

Sir W. Davison

Do the Government recognise the serious hardship that is caused when people have had their premises taken and have gone to the expense of black-out, carpets, etc., for new premises, and then to have those premises taken immediately afterwards? Ought they not to be compensated in some way? Surely this is a matter that ought to be dealt with by one Ministry?

Captain Crookshank

These cases are very hard and the fact that former premises have been requisitioned is taken into account. Such premises are only taken when it is exceptionally necessary.

Sir W. Davison

These cases are not at all uncommon, and I have a number of letters complaining bitterly about the expense involved.

Mr. Sorensen

Is not something similar happening with regard to railings, and will my right hon. and gallant Friend communicate with the Ministry of Works about it?