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Requisitioned Properties (Fire Insurance)

Volume 393: debated on Tuesday 9 November 1943

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asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that in connection with properties requisitioned by his Department, reimbursement of owners for the cost of ensuring their properties against risk of damage by fire, is by quarterly payment in arrear, whereas other Government Departments reimburse yearly in advance; and, as this practice causes considerable hardship to owners, will he consider altering this ruling to that adopted by other Government Departments?

If the claimant wishes the property to be insured the War Department refunds the premiums but the refund is not made until the premium has in fact been paid. The refund is made in quarterly payments because the property may be relinquished at any time during the year and the recovery of a number of small sums would involve a disproportionate amount of work and delay final settlement. This consideration does not apply to the same extent in the case of other Departments whose requisitioned properties are fewer in number and are normally held for a long period. I am not aware that the Army practice causes hardship.

Is not the Minister aware that compensation for taking over requisitioned premises is payable in arrear and not in advance, and that consequently in the event of any compensation for insurance being due to the Government, they would be able to deduct it from the amount of money payable when the premises are de-requisitioned?

I am sorry. I could not fully follow the point which my hon. Friend made, but I will look into it and see whether it makes any difference to the argument.

Does not my right hon. Friend consider it expedient that Government Departments should be consistent in their policy and that there should be the same policy in the War Office that there is in other Departments?