HC Deb 15 January 1998 vol 304 c266W
Mr. McNulty

To ask the President of the Board of Trade when she expects to publish the report on British policy towards enemy property during and after the Second World War; and what action she will take. [23908]

Mrs. Beckett

My hon. Friend the Minister for Competition and Consumer Affairs announced on 31 July 1997,Official Report, column 641 that the Government had commissioned a research project, to examine papers relevant to the Trading with the Enemy legislation under which the property of residents of enemy countries was confiscated during the Second World War. The project which has been co-ordinated by the FCO in close partnership with the DTI is nearing completion. The Government are considering the project's findings and will publish their response together with the report soon.

The Government, however, recognise that some of the information currently held at the Public Record Office will be of particular interest to Holocaust survivors or their families who may wish to check their family history. The Government therefore intend to publish a list of the names and other details of those who had their property seized under the Trading with the Enemy legislation. This cannot be a complete list as many individual case records have not been retained. However officials are examining the remaining records to see what information can be provided and it is estimated that the list will cover some 25,000 names. It is intended to publish the list on the Internet as soon as possible but the size and complexity of the task makes it difficult to be specific on the timing at this stage. The Government are committed to openness on this issue and believe that the publication of the report and of the list of names should make a large contribution to the public's understanding of this complex subject and help the relatives of holocaust victims to research their family history.

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