§ Mr. R. McNEILL
asked the Secretary of State for War if he is aware that the house No. 12, Longport Street, Canterbury, now in military occupation, was bought by the present owner's deceased father to enable her to make a living by letting apartments; that the owner has been for a long period, and still is, deprived of the use of her property through its requisition for military occupation; that she was assured as long ago as July, 1920, that possession would be given to her in a few months: that, on the 16th February, 1921, she was told that for several more months she could not recover her property; that all this time the owner has been obliged to store her furniture, which is suffering depreciation in value in consequence, and to procure accommodation for herself elsewhere; what military exigency requires the deprivation of this lady of her property more than two years after the War; and, in the event of his being unable to issue instructions that possession of the premises be given to the owner forthwith, if he will undertake that full compensation shall be paid to her, based on an estimate to be made by an independent valuer of the profits she might reasonably expect to make by letting apartments, and including the loss occasioned by the storage of her furniture and the necessity for living elsewhere?
§ Sir A. WILLIAMSON
This property has been occupied by the military authorities as stated, but I have no information as to the circumstances in which it was purchased or as to the assurances stated to have been given. The house is required for accommodating the local 1835W officers of the Lands Directorate, until other accommodation can be found for them. I regret that I can give no undertaking of the nature suggested in the last part of the hon. Member's question. The Department has endeavoured to minimise any hardship caused to the owner. When she complained that the rent originally paid under the hiring agreement was inadequate the Department consented to terminate the agreement and refer the question of compensation to the War Compensation Court, so far as concerned the period subsequent to the termination of the agreement. The Court awarded a payment very closely approximating to that asked for by the owner, and in arriving at the amount the cost of storing her furniture was taken into consideration. If the owner desires that the award should be revised, application should be made to the War Compensation Court.