HC Deb 06 February 1941 vol 368 cc1105-6W
Mr. T. Smith

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether instructions have been issued or permission given to Assistance Board officials to give compensation for war damage at rates varying according to the social class of the applicant; whether officials are authorised to take savings of the applicant into account when assessing compensation; what is the average amount of compensation paid to individuals applying to the Assistance Board for compensation for total loss of furniture and clothing; how many people have been awarded compensation under the scheme, and in how many cases 100 per cent. compensation has been paid; what is the average length of time taken to pay compensation partially, or in full, respectively; in how many cases appeal has been made to the Compensation Board because of dissatisfaction with the district valuer's estimate of damage; and what the result of the appeals has been?

Captain Crookshank

The total amount of the compensation to be paid to any applicant depends on the assessment by the district valuer of the Inland Revenue Department of the value of the damage. Payments by the Assistance Board are limited to immediate advances towards essential clothing and household furniture and in making their advances the Assistance Board's officers take into account the factors which will guide them in estimating the value of the damage and also the extent of the person's immediate requirements. The amounts advanced by the Board are reviewed on receipt of the valuation by the district valuer. The system now in force does not provide for any inquiries into the applicant's savings, and the Board's officers do not ordinarily make such inquiries. The applicants to the Board who have suffered the total loss of furniture and clothing form only a proportion of the total, and separate information is not available as to the average amount of compensation paid to them. All applicants who have been in need of immediate help have received at the time of application a grant sufficient to meet their immediate requirements. The subsequent treatment of each case depends in part on the availability of new accommodation as the Board do not pay compensation in respect of furniture until there is a home to furnish. I cannot say what the average time has been for the settlement of claims but I can assure the hon. Member that they are dealt with as quickly as may be. As regards the last part of the Question, objection has been taken by claimants, in a number of cases, to the district valuer's assessment but no appeals have come before the Compensation Board. The hon. Member will appreciate that the whole position will be affected by the War Damage Bill.

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