HC Deb 06 June 1940 vol 361 cc1011-4W
Mr. Holmes

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether any arrangements have been made to compensate those whose property was damaged when the enemy bomber crashed at Clacton-on-Sea?

Sir K. Wood

The Government's scheme of compensation for war damage to property, which was announced in the House on 31st January, 1939, provided for the payment of compensation after the war in accordance with a scale which would depend on the total amount of the damage and the financial circumstances of the country. Such compensation would be payable not only in respect of damage to the structure of buildings and to industrial plant, but also in respect of damage to such contents as furniture and clothing. As regards damage to buildings and plant, while no payments of compensation can be made until after the war, provision has already been made in the Housing (Emergency Powers) Act, 1939, and the Essential Buildings and Plant (Repair of War Damage) Act, 1939, for essential repairs, the cost being met out of Government loans.

In order to meet urgent cases of need, arrangements have now been made whereby advance payments of compensation up to limited amounts will be made in respect of damage to essential household furniture and personal clothing where the resources readily available for replacing damaged furniture and clothing are limited. Advances in respect of furniture will be made where the total income of the claimant's household does not exceed £400 a year, and in respect of clothing where the total income of the claimant docs not exceed £250 a year if there are no dependants or £400 a year if there are dependants. An advance in respect of furniture will be made up to £50 or the amount of the damage, whichever is the less. An advance in respect of clothing will be made up to the amount of the damage or £10 where there are no dependants, £20 where one dependant, or £30 where more than one dependant, has also suffered damage. Those desiring to take advantage of these arrangements should apply to the local officer of the Assistance Board who will have authority, in the most urgent cases and on being satisfied as to the need of the applicant, to make partial payments forthwith. These arrangements will apply to all cases of damage of the kind mentioned, whether at Clacton or elsewhere.

Sir G. Gibson

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the board for considering the Government's scheme of compensation for war damage to property has yet been appointed; and, if so, whether he can say who are the members of the board and what are its terms of reference?

Sir K. Wood

The Compensation Board, to which my predecessor referred in his statement of 31st January, 1939, has been appointed and is constituted as follows:

Mr. Justice Simonds (Chairman).

Mr. A. C. Gladstone, M.B.E.

Mr. E. Stanley Hall, M.A., P.R.I.B.A.

Mr. Oswald Healing, P.S.I.

Mr. J. F. Linney, P.A.I., F.S.I.

Mr. Gladstone, Mr. Stanley Hall, Mr. Healing and Mr. Linney were members of the committee under the chairmanship of Mr. Andrewes Uthwatt which has advised as to the general principles of the assessment of damage. The Secretary to the Board will be Mr. E. R. Copleston, of the Inland Revenue Department, Somerset House, London, W.C.2. The terms of reference and instructions to the board are appended.

  1. I. The Terms of Reference are as follow:
    • To assess for the purposes of the Government's scheme of compensation for war damage to property the amount of the loss of or damage to property within Great Britain or Northern Ireland arising as a direct result of attack by the enemy from the air or from the sea, or from counter-action taken against such attack.
    • For this purpose "property" means real and personal property within Great Britain or Northern Ireland, except:
      1. (i) property and goods (namely ships and cargoes, and stocks of commodities on land) which are insurable under the provisions of the War Risks Insurance Act, 1939;
      2. (ii) property belonging to Local Authorities and public utility undertakings; and
      3. (iii) money, valuable securities, jewellery, or works of art which are not at the date of the loss or damage insured specifically against loss or damage by fire, burglary or theft under a policy of insurance then in force.
  2. II. The Board will be instructed as follows:
    1. (1) Claims for compensation are to be limited to claims for loss of or damage to property directly caused by any hostile 1014 aircraft; by any aircraft engaging the same; by any missile, gas or liquid discharged from such aircraft (whether hostile or not), from guns engaging such hostile aircraft, from hostile guns or from guns fired by the Armed Forces of the Crown whether on shore, on ships or in the air at an enemy objective; by the concussion from the discharge of any such guns; by aircraft (including anything discharged there from) and guns of the Armed Forces of the Crown engaged in counter-action against an imagined attack by the enemy in any form; by the explosion (wheresoever occurring) of mines, torpedoes or depth charges laid, launched or dropped at sea; or by measures taken under proper authority to avoid the spreading of the consequences of damage directly due to any of the causes hereinbefore mentioned.
    2. (2) The Government's scheme of compensation extends only to the physical damage to property arising from the causes mentioned above and does not extend to consequential losses, such as loss of trading and other profits, cost of providing alternative accommodation, or injurious affection to other property of the claimant.
    3. (3) The principles on which the Board should make their assessments are those recommended in the two reports of the Committee on the Principles of Assessment of Damage (Command 6136 and Command 6197).

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