HC Deb 24 July 1941 vol 373 cc1076-8W
Mr. Kirkwood

asked the Minister of Health (1) if he is aware of the dissatisfaction felt by many persons who have been bombed out of their homes, and billeted by the local authority, at the demands subsequently made on them for payment of billeting money, and for back payment, often going back many weeks; and whether he will consider making all such payments date only from the time when the amount of payment is fixed;

(2)whether he is aware that, in assessing the amount which a person who has been bombed out of his home should pay for his billet, no account is taken of such extra expenses as meals purchased out side, extra travelling, replacement of lost clothing, etc.; and whether, as many persons feel so aggrieved at these assessments that they are returning to their broken homes rather than continue in their billets, he will reconsider the basis on which they are arrived at;

(3)whether he is aware that many per sons who have lost everything in the course of an air bombardment are billeted on householders who are only bound to provide shelter and access to water and sanitary accommodation for which the householder receives from the Government 5s. for an adult and 3s. per child; that his Department then assesses how much the the billetee is to pay; and whether, as many billetees feel that they could make better bargains for themselves, he will consider revising the whole system of billeting?

Mr. E. Brown

I am not aware of any general dissatisfaction with the conditions governing the payment of billeting allowances by local authorities. These are paid in respect of persons who have lost their homes by enemy action and are intended to be a temporary measure, operating only until such persons are able to find their own accommodation. Recovery of the billeting allowances is not made for the first fortnight or until a damaged house has been made habitable. No recovery is asked for in cases where the wage-earner is not living with the family nor for any periods before the persons billeted are made aware of their obligations. In making the assessment account is taken of such extra expenses as meals purchased outside and of additional travelling, but not the replacement of lost clothing, which is, of course, a matter for the Assistance Board. I think the principles thus applied are equitable and no cases have been brought to my notice where the persons billeted feel that they would be able to make better bargains for themselves. If my hon. Friend knows of any cases of this kind, I shall be glad to look into them.

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