HC Deb 05 May 1949 vol 464 cc1187-8
6. General Sir George Jeffreys

asked the President of the Board of Trade what is the present position as regards the payment of compensation in respect of war losses in Burma to civil and military officials employed in that country at the time of the Japanese invasion; and when it is expected that full payment in respect of such losses will be made.

Mr. H. Wilson

I regret that I am not yet in a position to announce the details of the extended scheme to which I referred in reply to the hon. Member for Bridgwater (Mr. Bartlett) on 17th December last. I hope that the final decisions will be taken very soon, and the scheme will be put into operation immediately thereafter.

Sir G. Jeffreys

Have not these claims been outstanding for some six years, and were not the losses of the belongings of these officers absolute losses in most cases? is it not highly discreditable to the Government that faithful servants of the country who lost their belongings in war should be treated in such a manner? Would such treatment of employees by any civil firm be tolerated?

Mr. Wilson

One of the big difficulties is the getting of the particulars with respect to the losses of employees of a civil firm. I am sure that the hon. and gallant Gentleman will realise the difficulties that are involved in getting this matter settled in this country.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Is the Minister telling the House that these people do not know what they have lost?

Mr. J. Langford-Holt

If particulars have not yet been obtained, when does the right hon. Gentleman think they will be, after this lapse of time?

Mr. Wilson

I did not say they had not been obtained. The hon. and gallant Gentleman referred to a delay of six years, which he regarded as discreditable, and I was explaining some of the difficulties of moving earlier in this matter.

Sir G. Jeffreys

Does the right hon. Gentleman's answer mean that the Government will not accept the statements of these officials and officers as to what they actually lost?