HC Deb 27 July 1943 vol 391 cc1368-9
20. Rear-Admiral Beamish

asked the Secretary of State for War whether there is any settled policy with regard to the carrying-out of the usual periodic repairs, such as outside painting, in connection with properties held by his Department, many of which have been held for four years and may not have been painted for a similar length of time before requisitioning, with the result that the woodwork is decaying; and is he aware that owners of such properties look to him to see that they do not suffer after the war from inability to get their properties repaired for their own occupation?

Sir J. Grigg

It is the policy of the Department to maintain its own buildings and other buildings held on requisition to a certain standard of war-time maintenance, which includes painting necessary for preservation. Owing, however, to the shortage of labour and materials, it is becoming increasingly difficult to implement this policy. The Department is aware of the expectations of owners of property, which are no doubt based on the provisions of the Compensation (Defence) Act, 1939, but my hon. and gallant Friend will be aware that many owners who still retain possession of their property cannot maintain it.

Read-Admiral Beamish

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that there is very real deterioration in the standard of maintenance of these much-valued properties and homes, and will he do everything he can to improve the standard?

Sir J. Grigg

I am aware of the deterioration. We will certainly do everything possible to maintain these properties, but I am bound to warn my hon. and gallant Friend that I do not think we shall succeeed in preventing some deterioration.

Mr. Thorne

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the War Office pinched three of our schools and that we had no say in the matter?

Sir H. Williams

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the shortage of materials is entirely the responsibility of the Ministry of Supply and the Minister of Labour?

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