HC Deb 06 May 1965 vol 711 cc1533-5
5. Mr. Gibson-Watt

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what was the total of claims for relief for flood damage caused in Wales last December; and what percentage of these claims have been met.

The Minister of State, Welsh Office (Mr. Goronwy Roberts)

Claims for assistance from the Lord Mayor's Flood Distress Fund numbered in all 1,508, and payments have been made in 890 cases or 59 per cent. Some claims are still under consideration.

Mr. Gibson-Watt

The hon. Gentleman has given the figure of applications and those granted. How long will it be before the rest of these claims have been considered and met? Is he aware that there is a certain amount of apprehension about this in various parts of Wales where people were affected by the floods?

Mr. Roberts

The assessment of claims and the decision regarding what is proper to pay has proceeded with care and expedition. There are some claims still outstanding and some to be considered again. I can give the hon. Member the assurance that no time has been lost consistent with dealing with this fund in a proper manner, and certainly no time will be lost in the future.

Mr. Peter Thomas

Is the hon. Gentleman satisfied that there is enough money to meet the claims put in?

Mr. Roberts

The amount of money to be dispersed is contingent on the public response to the appeal plus the pretty generous subvention from the Treasury to the fund. Everyone would wish to see more money in the "kitty" to be used for this purpose, but we are satisfied that cases of real hardship, for which this fund was normally intended, will be met fairly substantially.

Mr. Hooson

Can the Minister confirm that if a case of real hardship has been overlooked they are prepared to look at it again and revise their view about whether compensation should be paid?

Mr. Roberts

Yes, certainly. It must be an exceptional case, because all these hundreds of claims have already been carefully considered by professional assessors and cannot be looked at again in detail. If the hon. and learned Gentleman, or anyone else, has evidence of a claim which seemed to have been overlooked or not fairly treated, they can bring the evidence to me or forward it direct to the Lord Mayor's Distress Fund at the Mansion House, Cardiff.

6. Mr. Gibson-Watt

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how much money was raised by the Lord Mayor of Cardiff's Flood Relief Appeal and how much was added to it by the Government to meet appeals for 1964 flood relief in Wales.

Mr. Goronwy Roberts

The Lord Mayor has to date received a total of £8,498 in response to his appeal and the Government have supplemented this with a grant of £25,000.

Mr. Gibson-Watt

While recognising that the comparison between these figures is wide, may I ask whether the hon. Gentleman is satisfied that the figure of £25,000 from the Government will be adequate to deal with the very large number of cases revealed to us by his previous Answer? He will remember that on 15th December he made a very sympathetic and correct statement, which was followed by the speech of his right hon. Friend in the Welsh Grand Committee on 16th December. Can we be certain that the amount forthcoming from the Government will be adequate to deal with this distressing problem?

Mr. Roberts

The hon. Member will agree that the Government subvention is pretty substantial. It is a generous contribution considering the amount of the public response, and compares very favourably with the attitude of the then Government at the time of the Sheffield storm damage appeal in 1962. Nevertheless, we share the desire of the hon. Gentleman that as many as possible of these flood victims may be helped as soon as possible. So far, resting on the recommendations of professional assessors, we find that practically all who have a valid case have been helped to some extent and others will be considered in the way that I indicated to the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Hooson).