§ Mr. Dance
Is my hon. Friend aware that in my constituency much damage has been done to plants, machinery, 1138 land, and growing crops and that most of the people affected are small farmers? Although the county council is doing what it can, it naturally and rightly puts the blame on the contractors. The contractors go to the insurance company which in turn repudiates the claim, with the result that 18 months' later the small people—they are the people in whom I am largely interested—have had no compensation at all although it has been agreed. Will not my hon. Friend consider this matter again and set up a fund from which these people can be paid and let the various parties concerned argybargy afterwards?
§ Mr. Hay
I am having examined the various cases which my hon. Friend sent me following an exchange which he and I had at Question Time some time ago. But, on the general issue, as I said in my Answer, if there is a claim which is well founded in law, it is either for the highway authority or for the contractor to meet it. If it is not well founded in law, and if the insurance company refuses to indemnify the contractors because it is not satisfied that it is well founded, that is an entirely different matter and my right hon. Friend has no standing in it.