HC Deb 15 July 1942 vol 381 cc1222-3
41. Mrs. Tate

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty why an order has been issued to Admiralty dockyards which in effect renders the taxpayer liable for thefts in dockyards of articles other than luxury articles and money; and, as this is a direct incitement to theft and puts an unjust burden on the taxpayer, if he will reconsider the order?

The Civil Lord of the Admiralty (Captain Pilkington)

The order to which the hon. Member refers is in accordance with the general policy of the Government for a number of years past, namely to make a limited ex gratia grant when a Government servant loses personal effects other than luxury articles and money, provided the loss arose out of and in the course of his employment and there was no negligence on his part. There are, unfortunately, dishonest people in every walk of life, but I have a higher opinion of the men in Admiralty dockyards than to believe that the order will prove a direct incitement to theft, and it would be manifestly unfair to make the dishonest few a reason for denying some small compensation to a man who, because of, his employment in a dockyard, loses personal effects through no fault of his own.

Mrs. Tate

Is it not a fact that the hon. and gallant Member has received great protests from dockyards? Does this order apply to all Government Departments and factories, and, if not, why is it confined to dockyards?

Captain Pilkington

The answer to the second part of that question is that the order applies in all cases. The answer to the first part is that no objections have been brought forward.

Commander Sir Archibald Southby

If this has been the custom for some time, why has the order only just been issued?

Captain Pilkington

Because this order brings the dockyards into line with the general policy which has been pursued in other Government Departments for some time.