HC Deb 13 October 1943 vol 392 cc913-4W
Mr. McEntee

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether he will make a statement in regard to the position of owners and owner occupiers of houses completely destroyed by enemy action, explaining on what conditions they are entitled to claim a cash settlement during the war; when no such settlement can be made whether they are entitled to have the amount of their claim determined so that they may know the amount to which they will become entitled; whether payments are to be made on the basis of pre-war prices or of the prices current when payment is made; and defining when payments will commence to be made?

Mr. Assheton

I assume that the hon. Member is referring only to cases where a value payment is appropriate. Many houses of good quality are, however, likely to qualify for cost of works payments, even though they have been entirely destroyed. Where a value payment is appropriate a cash settlement will not normally be made during the war, although the Act provides for advances in certain special cases I am informed by the War Damage Commission that the great majority of the owners of properties classified as total losses may expect to be informed of this classification before the end of 1943, and where they accept that classification they will be advised as soon as possible thereafter of the Commission's provisional estimate of the amount of the value payment. The War Damage Act provides that the amount of a value payment shall be ascertained by reference to values as at 31st March, 1939, though Section II of the Act gives the Treasury power to review this basis in the light of a report by the Commission when value payments generally become payable. In answer to the last part of the Question, I would refer the hon. Member to Section 22 of the War Damage Act, 1943, which lays down that value payments generally shall be made at such time or times as may be specified in Regulations made by the Treasury either generally or as respects payments to be made in different circumstances. The time or times to be specified will depend on circumstances prevailing after the war and I am not in a position to anticipate what they will be.