HC Deb 14 December 1948 vol 459 cc1005-6
39. Mr. Mott-Radclyffe

asked the Secretary of State for War the basis of compensation for the loss of personal effects during the Japanese war by British officers posted to Burma by his Department before the outbreak of war, many of whom had been accompanied by their wives and families; how many claims have been settled; and how many remain outstanding.

Mr. Shinwell

The basis of compensation for personal effects, including household goods, lost in Burma in 1942 is the value at 1942 prices after allowing for depreciation for age. Compensation is subject to certain limits. The number of claims settled by the War Office for losses by British officers posted to Burma before the outbreak of war is about 25; some 50 remain to be settled. An interim payment has already been made in most cases not yet settled. In addition, claims for loss of uniform and equipment have been settled by Army Paymasters, but figures for these are not readily available.

Mr. Mott-Radclyffe

Does not the right hon. Gentleman realise that many of these officers took out their wives and families on an ordinary peacetime basis; are they entitled to no compensation for loss of household effects, such as linen, blankets, china and things of that sort?

Mr. Shinwell

I am asked about the compensation of British officers, not of their wives and families. I understand that all the factors have been taken into account, and the payment of compensation is, it appears to me, quite reasonable.

General Sir George Jeffreys

Should not the amount paid in compensation be based on the cost of replacement of these articles, rather than on the cost in 1942?

Mr. Driberg

Does this include the loss of personal effects of officers in this category who were killed in the war; and are their relatives entitled to compensation?

Mr. Shinwell

I am afraid I cannot say.