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Alexandra Park (Government Occupation)

Volume 155: debated on Tuesday 13 June 1922

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asked the hon. Member for the Pollok Division of Glasgow, as representing the First Commissioner of Works, whether his attention has been called to the statement of one of the Alexandra Park trustees regarding their experience of the working of his Department; that the processes through which a claim passes are, firstly, agreement between the trustees' surveyor and the Government surveyor; secondly, submission for confirmation in detail by the chief valuer; thirdly, submission for confirmation in detail by the chief compensation officer; fourthly, report by the Commissioners of the Office of Works; fifthly, reference to the War Compensation Court; and sixthly, reference to the arbitrator of the Court; and whether, in the interests of claimants and the taxpayer, some less circuitous means of settlement can be devised?

I have seen the statement in question, but it does not describe quite accurately the procedure employed in settling claims in respect of the re-instatement of requisitioned premises. The claims as a whole are dealt with by the chief compensation officer, who refers matters of technical detail connected with dilapidations proper to the technical advisers of the Department. These officers then endeavour to arrive at a provisional settlement, which, after approval by the Commissioners, is submitted to the War Compensation Court. So far as I am aware, the Court have never referred any claim o an arbitrator, though in exceptional cases they may decide to consult their own advisers. A thorough examination of such claims against public funds is essential in the interests of the taxpayer, and I do not see how, having regard to the large amounts of public money involved and the fact that the War Compensation Court require the fullest information on which to base their decisions, any more expeditious and more satisfactory procedure can be devised. In the present, as in other cases, the Court have authorised payments on account in order to enable claimants to meet immediate needs, and every endeavour is made to ensure that claimants receive sympathetic and fair consideration.

Could the hon. Baronet give any idea of what percentage of the claims really goes in expenses before the end is reached?