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War Damage Payments

Volume 387: debated on Tuesday 16 March 1943

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60.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that necessary repairs to leasehold property damaged by enemy action are, in many cases, not being carried out, by reason of the fact that the lessee of the premises is without means; and whether instructions can be given to the War Damage Commission to advance money in these cases to meet the necessary cost-of-works payments to make the premises habitable?

The War Damage Commission has no power to make a cost-of-works payment before work has been carried out. I am not aware of the circumstances referred to by my hon. Friend, but if he will inform me of any particular cases he has in mind, I shall be glad to look into them.

Does my right hon. Friend realise how important it is to get houses that are only partially damaged made available for residence as soon as possible? Where the house owner is not in a position to do the work, would it not be better if the War Damage Commission made a grant to the owner for that purpose?

If my hon. Friend will let me have particulars of any case he has in mind, I shall be glad to investigate it.

Is it any good starting work on any of these contracts unless there is a guarantee by the Government that payment will be made?

61.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in view of the fact that cost-of-works payments will be made in the case of large numbers of properties damaged by enemy action which, at the time of damage, were considered irreparable, whether consequential damage due to exposure to weather conditions is to be included in the cost-of-works payment?

Section 12 of the War Damage Act, 1941, which applies both to value payments and to cost-of-works payments, provides for deductions to be made from claims if the war damage is increased by failure on the part of the claimant to take any steps for preserving the property which he might reasonably have been expected to take. Subject to this provision, expenditure for making good deterioration due to exposure to weather conditions in a property which has sustained war damage, would not be excluded from a claim for cost-of-works.