HC Deb 07 December 1943 vol 395 cc776-7
52. Sir L. Lyle

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the War Damage Commission still has funds in hand to meet all the cost-of-works claims; the percentage of the £200,000,000 sterling subscribed or to be subscribed by the public which has already been received; and when the Treasury undertaking to pay 50 per cent. of the cost of all money required after the £200,000,000 specified have been expended is expected to become operative?

Sir J. Anderson

My hon. Friend's Question seems to be based on a misconception of the financial structure of the War Damage Act. The Commission does not make its payments out of a fund into which contributions are paid, but out of moneys voted by Parliament. Contributions are paid into the Exchequer. The total contribution is payable in five annual instalments, the third of which became due on the 1st July, and each year's collection produces just under £40,000,000. Payments already exceed receipts.

Earl Winterton

Is my right hon. Friend aware that those of us who support the working of this Act and feel that it is a fair one, will take vigorous steps against having it upset by the hon. Member for Bournemouth (Sir L. Lyle) and others?

Sir L. Lyle

I have never made any such suggestion.

53. Mr. Spearman

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will authorise advance payments to owners of bombed houses who do not need alternative accommodation but are in financial need, and especially to those who are of an age which makes it doubtful whether they will live long enough to receive the compensation to which they are entitled after the war and who, owing to raid damage, have lost the means of borrowing on mortgage?

Sir J. Anderson

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given to my Noble Friend the Member for the Sutton Division of Plymouth (Viscountess Astor) on 19th October last. (OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 392, No. 109, col. 1213.)

Mr. Spearman

Will my right hon. Friend consider those cases where the destruction of the home has resulted in great poverty and have regard to the fact that many of those who depend for their income on letting lodgings are too old to start again?

Sir J. Anderson

I have made it clear in answer to the Question to which I have referred that very careful consideration has been given to that aspect. One of the difficulties is that in the majority of cases the payment to be eventually made will not be a value payment but a cost of works payment.

Viscountess Astor

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that there are hundreds who will never live to get any compensation at all and it is very hard on them?

Sir Irving Albery

Will my right hon. Friend further consider whether the value payment could not be made available in such cases as this instead of a cost of works payment?

Sir J. Anderson

The matter has been carefully considered in conjunction with the Chairman of the Commission, and I can assure the House that it is not from any want of sympathy that we have not seen our way to meet these cases in the manner suggested.