HC Deb 08 November 1944 vol 404 cc1350-2
42. Mr. Loftus

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works if he will reconsider, the proposal to requisition the home of a serving officer, the name of whom has been communicated to him, for the purpose of housing German and /or Italian prisoners of war, in view of the fact that this house was commandeered and occupied by the Army in 1940 until recently it was derequisitioned and, as the owner who has been engaged the greater part of this period in active service overseas in Africa and Italy against German and Italian Forces, now requires his home for his wife and family of five young children.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works (Mr. Hicks)

It is understood that the owner of the house in question does not require it for occupation until next May as he has taken other accommodation. If he then wishes to occupy the house himself, it would be in accordance with the policy of my Noble Friend to release it, even though, unless other premises can be found, there will be a loss of the labour of 150 men on agricultural work in the area.

Mr. Loftus

Is the hon. Gentleman aware, first, that the officer requires the house for his wife and family, as soon as it can be made habitable? I have written evidence to that effect. Secondly, is he aware that there are hutments in the grounds which were used for British troops for years, and which are now empty? And, thirdly, why was there no interval between derequisitioning by the War Office, and requisitioning by his Department?

Mr. Hicks

In answer to the first part of the question, my information is that the gentleman has been communicated with, and that he is not desirous of going into the house until after May next year. If he is then desirous of going into the house and living there himself, as against letting it to someone else, my Noble Friend would release it for him to occupy. I am not aware of the huts in the neighbourhood. Perhaps my hon. Friend will let me have further information on that point.

Mr. Loftus

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that this man is a serving officer and cannot live in the house himself at present, but that his wife and family wish to live in it at once, as soon as it can be made habitable?

Mr. Hicks

If this officer's wife and family wish to live in it at once, it can be made available for them.

Sir A. Knox

Surely, an officer serving abroad has some claim for accommodation for his family?