HC Deb 21 November 1946 vol 430 cc151-2W
Sir T. Moore

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware of the hardship caused to those whose small houses were damaged during the war and who are now informed that even if the cost of making them habitable is more than the 1939 value of the house that value is the maximum which can be given by way of compensation; and if, in view of the recent decision to give the 1939 value plus 60 per cent. in the case of property now being requisitioned, he will take action to ease the position of those who cannot under present compensation arrangements afford to repair their war-damaged houses, even when this would cost less and use less material than the purchase or erection of a new house.

Mr. Dalton

The hon. and gallant Member is under a misapprehension. Under the War Damage Act, 1943, a cost of works payment is appropriate if the cost of repair (at 1939 prices) does not exceed the difference between the value of the repaired property and the value of the site (at 1939 values). Under a Treasury Direction, cost of works payments may be made, even if this test is not satisfied, in the case of all houses built since 1914, and all houses built before then which were, broadly, equally good: Where cost of works payments are made, they are assessed by reference to the actual cost of the repairs, irrespective of the 1939 value of the house, and there is, therefore, no reason for any such change as is suggested. Where a house does not qualify for a cost of works payment, a value payment is due. This is assessed as the difference (at 1939 values) between the pre-damage and the after-damage value of the property (including the site). Value payments are deferred until a date to be fixed by the Treasury and I would draw the hon. and gallant Member's attention to Section II of the Act under which, when that date is fixed, an increase may be prescribed in value payments as assessed under the Act.

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