HC Deb 22 April 1947 vol 436 cc805-6
48. Mr. McAdam

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in view of the decision to make Government grants to assist victims of the recent floods, he will now reconsider the refusal to contribute from public funds to the repair of the damage in Salford when the River Irwell overflowed last September.

Mr. Dalton

No, Sir. As I have already told my hon. Friend, while sympathising very much with those who suffered damage in Salford, last September, I am afraid that I could not now apply public funds for this purpose.

Mr. Royle

May I ask my right hon. Friend what the difference is between losing everything one possessed in Salford in September and losing everything one possessed in the Fen district in March?

An Hon. Member

Six months.

Mr. Dalton

I would like to give a sympathetic reply to hon. Members representing Salford because I know what Salford suffered, but the point is that in this national, nationwide catastrophe, great, exceptional measures were taken by the Government in several ways to deal with it. It was an exceptional catastrophe of nationwide significance and we cannot now, I am afraid—I am very sorry to have to say this, but I must say it—date it back to isolated incidents not nationwide, however much we may sympathise with those who suffered.

Mr. Hardy

In view of the fact that three Departments of the Government have already extended sympathy to these victims but nothing more, and that the Government have so generously agreed to contribute £1 million to the Lord Mayor's Fund in London, is the Chancellor aware that the Salford victims have paid a proportion of that £1 million, and why are they not entitled to assistance similar to that given to other people?

Mr. Dalton

All I can repeat is that I have great sympathy for Salford but I cannot, unfortunately, add to what I have already said. I have tried to make it perfectly clear.

Mr. McAdam

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I will raise this matter on the Adjournment at the first available opportunity.