HL Deb 30 April 1998 vol 589 cc34-5WA
Lord Mason of Barnsley

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What arrangements have been made for publishing on the Internet the details of those whose property was confiscated under wartime legislation. [HL1727]

The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Simon of Highbury)

My right honourable friend the President of the Board of Trade has today made available on the Internet the details of those residents of Bulgaria, Germany, Hungary, Japan and Romania whose property was confiscated during the Second World War by the British Government under Trading with the Enemy legislation.

The information on the website is the same as that already available on summary record cards at the Public Record Office. Each record consists of a name and, where we have it, the address, summary details and value of the property seized. There are over 25,000 records, covering individuals and commercial organisations.

The DTI also holds less detailed records of about 5,000 cases from other countries, which my right honourable friend the President of the Board of Trade intends to post on the Internet in due course.

The website can be found at www.enemyproperty.gov.uk. It will be possible to search the records using a name and/or an address.

We are also establishing a helpline, available between 9.30 and 5.30 on working days, for those who do not have access to the Internet on 0171–215–6374 or 0171–215–6160.

As I announced on 3 April, the Government have decided to establish a claims procedure. This will be based on the principle that confiscated assets placed in the UK by victims of Nazi persecution should be returned to them by the UK where practicable and where claims can be validated. The Government have also accepted the suggestion that an independent third party should consult interested parties, and advise on the form of the scheme the Government should adopt. My right honourable friend the President of the Board of Trade will announce the appointment of the independent third party as soon as possible.