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Railings Removal (Compensation)

Volume 387: debated on Wednesday 24 March 1943

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asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works whether he is aware that the compensation payable for the loss of iron railings is insufficient to enable the owners to provide reasonable substitute protection; and whether he will arrange for such compensation to be dealt with through the war damage fund?

The compensation payable is governed by the provisions of the Com- pensation (Defence) Act, 1939, which does not provide for substitution. The answer to the second part of the Question is in the negative.

Is the Minister aware that it is not the intrinsic value of the railings which the owners have had to give up which concerns them, but the financial sacrifice imposed upon them for the good of all and which they alone have to discharge? Is there not some way of seeing that people as a whole provide compensation for something which is for their benefit?

The same point which the hon. Member is raising now has constantly been put up, but the Department is not in a position to say authoritatively what the amount of compensation payable may be. It is, of course, clear that the standard rate of 25s. per ton which is offered is inadequate to buy substitute protection. Defence Regulation 50B (8) makes it clear that substitution is not contemplated by the Regulations.

Does not a good deal of resentment still exist about this matter? Can we take it that the door is not closed against the possibility of the nation paying the reasonable cost of reinstatement after the war?

Are not persons who are involved in heavy expenditure, by reason of the removal of their railings, entitled, quite apart from the value of the railings, to claim some compensation for the loss which they have incurred by reason of the removal of the railings?

That provision is already available to them, if they like to appeal to the tribunals.