HC Deb 22 April 1941 vol 371 cc35-6W
Sir R. Glyn

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he is aware that Miss J. F. Burke, headmistress of a school, has received no financial recompense for her original school and grounds being requisitionéd at short notice by the Air Ministry in October, 1940, and that, being now established elsewhere, the Air Ministry is again intending to requisition this property without giving her the opportunity of finding alternative accommodation within a reasonable distance; whether the original school has been put to any use by the Air Ministry; and what steps it is proposed to take to repay the sums owing to this lady, together with interest, in view of the heavy expenses and inconvenience caused?

Sir A. Sinclair

The circumstances of this case are as follow. Early in October, 1940, it became necessary to requisition for the use of the W.A.A.F. the house in which Miss Burke was conducting her school. Miss Burke accordingly moved her school to a different district but unfortunately settled in a house the owner of which had already signed a certificate of willingness that the Royal Air Force should requisition it. It was not practicable for the Royal Air Force to relinquish its lien on this house and a requisitioning notice was served at the beginning of January. In view of representations made by Miss Burke and by the hon. Baronet himself, Miss Burke was informed about 7th February, 1941, that she would not be disturbed until 8th March. I cannot, therefore, agree that she was not given sufficient time to find alternative accommodation within a reasonable distance. As for the second part of my hon. Friend's Question, the original premises were requisitioned on 10th October. Certain alterations to them were necessary. These were completed by 31st October, since when the house has been continuously occupied by W.A.A.F. personnel. As for the third part of the Question, before compensation for the requisitioning of the original house and grounds can be paid, it is necessary that Miss Burke should present her claim in the manner prescribed by the Compensation (Defence) Act. Although the forms were delivered to her at the time of requisitioning, they have not yet been completed and returned. An officer has been sent to interview Miss Burke and to assist her in making out the claim. When the claim is completed every effort will be made to reach a settlement without delay, and any settlement will include the amount in respect of interest which the Act allows.