HC Deb 04 April 1974 vol 871 cc1435-6
19. Mr. Hardy

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will provide an estimate of the cost of damage and destruction to property and injury to people in Northern Ireland during recent years; and if he will express this as an amount per person in that Province.

Mr. Orme

On the basis of claims made for compensation since 1st April 1969 the estimate for damage to property is about £110 million and for personal injuries about £12.5 million. The total estimate of £122.5 million represents £79 per person in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Hardy

As the violence is continuing, will my hon. Friend emphasise the point that the population on this side of the water is bound to become more and more reluctant to provide both the finance and the human resources that are required to meet the horrors of Ulster?

Mr. Orme

I understand my hon. Friend's strong feelings. We often have such representations made to us. It would be incorrect not to pursue the present policy, because as the basis of that policy we are seeking a political solution in Northern Ireland. We see no alternative to that. We shall continue to pursue that policy as long as the House allows us to do so.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Will the Minister say what incentive is given to business firms and others concerned to provide their own security and protection? Further, what deterrent is employed against those which do not do so?

Mr. Orme

The hon. Gentleman raises an interesting question. I believe that the question of compensation will have to be considered when people do not employ self-help. Considerable help is given to the firms that help themselves. They are given 75 per cent. of the costs which they incur in employing security people. Other assistance is also given. The facilities are available and they should be properly used.