HC Deb 07 August 1947 vol 441 cc1613-4
9. Mr. Vane

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will state the rate at which private persons and industrial undertakings in Jersey and Guernsey were authorised to exchange marks, received during the German occupation in payment for the use of their property, into sterling; and how he proposes to compensate individuals and industrial firms in Alderney in respect of losses and wear and tear to their property and plant, which was requisitioned and worked by the Germans during the same period.

Mr. Ede

The authorised rate for the exchange of Reichsmarks in circulation in Jersey and Guernsey when the Islands were liberated was 9.36 to £1. In Guernsey, on the capitulation of the German forces but before the arrival of the liberation force, the Island authorities had exchanged Reichsmarks at the rate of 10 to £1 up to a limit of £20 per person. As to the second part of the Question, as I indicated in reply to the Question by the hon. Member on 24th July, considerable assistance has already been given towards the Island's recovery by the provision of stores, goods and services: but this has necessarily been limited to rehabilitation, and the cost of compensation for war losses could not properly be placed on the British taxpayer.

Mr. Vane

Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied, in view of the fact that all these Islands were occupied by the enemy during the war that such arrangements as he has made are fair between the different Islands and particularly since Alderney was evacuated upon the recommendation of the then representative of His Majesty's Government?

Mr. Ede

I could not accept the last phrase used by the hon. Member, but I am going with a committee of the Privy Council to Alderney to hold an inquiry into certain matters during the course of the next month. I understand that the matter raised in the Question will be among matters that will be raised by the islanders in front of the committee. As I shall have to act in a judicial capacity when I hear them, I think it would be unwise of me to say any more at the present moment.

Major Haughton

In view of the answer which the Home Secretary gave on the day when my hon. Friend put his Question, that these matters did not come under the jurisdiction of the Home Office, may I ask whether they can be settled even though the Minister does go there?

Mr. Ede

I hope that as a result of the hearing by the committee of the Privy Council we may be able to make certain recommendations. Whether we shall be able to settle the matter, we must await the event to see.

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