New Clause. — (Commission not to be required to entertain claims for payment of under five pounds.)

Orders of the Day — War Damage Bill. – in the House of Commons on 25th February 1941.

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(1) Notwithstanding anything in the preceding provisions of this Part of this Act, the Commission shall not be required to entertain a claim by any person for a payment in respect of war damage to a hereditament, being damage in respect of which a payment of cost of works is the appropriate payment, if the total cost of executing works on the hereditament in relation to such war damage which was incurred by him and which would apart from this provision be the subject either of a payment of cost of works or of a temporary works payment, is less than five pounds;

Provided that, in the case of a person who has incurred such cost as aforesaid in relation to war damage sustained by the same hereditament on two or more occasions, or in executing works on two or more developed hereditaments in the same area, the whole of such cost shall be taken into account together for the purposes of this Sub-section.

In this Sub-section the expression "area" means the area of a local authority for the purposes of Part II of the Housing Act, 1936.

(2) Notwithstanding anything in the pre ceding provisions of this Part of this Act, the Commission shall not be required to entertain a claim for a payment in respect of war damage to a hereditament not being a developed hereditament, being damage in respect of which the appropriate payment is a value payment, if the total amount of the depreciation in the value of the hereditament caused by the war damage, and of the cost of executing works on the hereditament in relation to such war damage which apart from this provision would be the subject of a temporary works payment, is less than five pounds.

Provided that, in the case of such a hereditament which sustains war damage on two or more occasions, the said depreciation and cost attributable to the war damage occurring on those occasions respectively shall be taken into account together for the purposes of this Sub-section, and, if the hereditament also sustains war damage in respect of which a payment of cost of works is the appropriate payment, the amount of that payment shall be included in the said total for those purposes.—[Sir K. Wood.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

I have already explained this Clause, which relates to claims under £5

Photo of Reverend George Woods Reverend George Woods , Finsbury

I would like to say a word on behalf of a certain percentage of people who will be affected by this proposal. I think nearly all hon. Members will have had communications on this subject from people who have been paying to building societies for five or ten years and who are now in very difficult circumstances as a result of the war. In many cases it is as much as they can do to meet the interest charges. On top of that, they have to meet the premiums. It may Happen that blast will remove the whole of the windows on one side of the house; the actual owner may not be living in it—he may be evacuated —and may not be in a position to carry out repairs. Where such cases arise, it seems to me that the parties should at least get some compensation. I appreciate the general desirability of cutting out frivolous claims, but what would otherwise seem a frivolous claim might, in these circumstances, be a very serious proposition, and the man may have to go further into debt to meet the cost of making good the damage. I should like to have some assurance on this human side of the question, for while the Committee is in general agreement with the Clause as a whole, it still seems possible that there will be cases of positive hardship, and that the whole intention of the Bill as far as these people are concerned will be frustrated.

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

I have already explained how these hardships would be mitigated by the other concessions in the Clause. I am allowing local authorities to aggregate claims in the same housing area, and I hope that the number of these claims will be reduced.

Question put, and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

NEW CLAUSE.—(Notification of damage and claims for payments.)

  1. (1) Regulations may be made by the Treasury—
    1. (a) as to the notification of the occurrence of war damage to land, and of particulars of such damage and of the land affected thereby; and
    2. (b) as to the making of claims for payments under this Part of this Act, and the information to be furnished for the purpose of the investigation thereof and of the determination and ascertainment of the kind and the amount of the payment to be made in respect of any war damage and of the person entitled to receive the payment or any share thereof, and as to the manner in which such information is to be verified.
  2. (2) Regulations made under this Section may specify limits of time for the giving of such notification as aforesaid, for the making of such claims as aforesaid, or for the observance of the requirements of the regulations as to any other matter. Provided that the Commission shall have power in their discretion to extend any limit of time so specified in particular cases:
  3. (3) Regulations made under this Section may provide for rendering the right to receive a payment under this Part of this Act, or a share of such a payment, conditional on the requirements of the regulations having been duly observed:
    • Provided that the Commission shall have power to waive any of the said requirements in particular cases, and to make payments under this Part of this Act notwithstanding that any of them have not been observed.
  4. (4) The power to make regulations as to the matters specified in the preceding provisions of this Section shall include power to make regulations as to any of those matters in relation to war damage sustained before the coining into force of the regulations, and provision shall be made by the regulations for securing, so far as may be, that action taken before the coming into force of the regulations in relation to any of those matters shall not be required to be repeated after the coming into force thereof—[Captain Crookshank.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Photo of Captain Harry Crookshank Captain Harry Crookshank , Gainsborough

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

This new Clause brings together all the Regulations which may be made by the Treasury and which will therefore come before Parliament. Such Regulations may be made as to the notification of the occurrence of damage and as to the making of claims for payments. The hon. Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Bellenger) raised the point that the first notification should be quite simple as compared with the second and obviously more detailed document in regard to claims. It is provided by paragraphs (a) and (b) of Sub-section (1) of this Clause that there will first be a notification and afterwards the claim. Then Regulations may be made under Sub-section (2) specifying limits of time, and under Sub-section (3) rendering the right to receive the payment under this part of the Act conditional on the requirements of the Regulations having been observed, provided of course that there is a right of waiver in special cases. Under Subsection (4) there is power to make Regulations as to any matter in relation to war damage sustained before the coming into force of the Regulations, so as to cover cases in which claims have already been made or in which claims will be made hereafter, before the Regulations are finally approved. I have here a whole catalogue of the different points made by hon. Members on the Regulations, and I think we have really met the probability of all of the things that they have in mind arising. Anyhow, Parliament keeps its control over the form of the Regulations.

Question put, and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

NEW CLAUSE.—(Power to increase amount of value payments on Commission's report as to altered circumstances.)

  1. (1)If, when the discharge of value payments generally or in substantial volume has become permissible, it appears to the Commission that, having regard to any circumstances arising' since the passing of this Act, the amounts of any such payments computed as provided by section four of this Act are inadequate, the Commission shall make a report to the Treasury stating that they are of that opinion, the circumstances to which they have had regard in forming it. and the deductions which they draw there from.
  2. (2)On receipt from the Commission of any such report the Treasury shall consider the report, and shall have power by order to direct that the amounts of value payments which would otherwise be computed as provided by section four of this Act shall, either in all cases or in such classes of cases as may be specified in the order, be increased by a sum equal to such proportion of the amount computed as aforesaid as may be specified in the order.
  3. (3)An order under this section as to any value payments shall have effect in relation to any such payment whether made before or after the coming into force of the order.
  4. (4)The Treasury shall publish in such manner as they think fit any report made to them under subsection (1) of this section as soon as may be after they have made an order in pursuance thereof or have determined to make no order thereon.
  5. (5)An order under this section may be varied or revoked by any subsequent order made by the Treasury:
    • Provided that no person shall be liable in consequence of an order made by virtue of this subsection to repay any sum paid to him before the coming into force thereof.
  6. (6)An order under this section may make provision for any such modification of the pro visions of this Act relating to the discharge of value payments, or to the computation of the interest thereon, as may appear to the Treasury to be requisite in consequence of the making of the order.
  7. (7)An order made under this section shall be of no effect until it has been approved by a resolution of the Commons House of Parliament.—[Sir K. Wood.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

I beg to move,"That the Clause be read a Second time."

I have already explained this Clause to-day.

Photo of Mr James Milner Mr James Milner , Leeds South East

The Clause provides that the report of the Commission shall be published after the Treasury have made an order in pursuance thereof or have decided to make no order. I think it very desirable that the report should be published before the Treasury make their order or determine not to make an order, so that the general public may make representations upon the report. It is always difficult to obtain a reversal or a modification of an order after it has been made. The right hon. Gentleman has been very good m meeting all the objections which have been raised, and I ask him to consider whether the report might not be published before the Treasury come to a decision. The matter is clearly most important, as the right hon. Gentleman recognises.

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

I will certainly look into that.

Question, "That the Clause be read a Second time," put, and agreed to.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause be added to the Bill."

Photo of Mr Francis Douglas Mr Francis Douglas , Battersea North

How is the claimant to know whether he is entitled to a value payment or not? As I understand it, the scheme of the Bill is that the cost-of-works payment is the normal payment, but it is not to be made unless and until the work has been done.

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

That does not arise on the Question, "That the Clause be added to the Bill."

Question put, and agreed to.

NEW CLAUSE.—(Provision for deduction from payment, etc., for failure to minimise damage.)

  1. (1)If war damage to a hereditament is in creased by failure on the part of the owner of, or any person interested in, a proprietary interest in the hereditament or any part thereof (including a mortgagee of such an interest) to take any steps for preserving the hereditament or that part thereof which he might reasonably have been expected to take after the happening of the event from which the damage re- suits, the following provisions of this Section shall have effect.
  2. (2)Where a value payment is to be made in respect of the war damage, both the actual depreciation in the value of the hereditament caused thereby and the depreciation that would have been caused if the damage had not been increased as aforesaid shall be determined in accordance with the provisions of Sections four and seven of this Act and the difference shall be deducted from the payment, or, if it is payable in two or more shares, from the share apportioned to the relevant proprietary interest:
    • Provided that where the person in default was a mortgagee, if the mortgage is subsisting when the payment is discharged, the mortgagee shall be liable to account as if the payment or share had been paid in full, and. if it is not then subsisting, the payment or share shall be paid in full and an amount equal to the said difference shall be recoverable as a debt due to His Majesty from the person in default.
  3. (3) Where a payment of cost of works is to be made in respect of the war damage the amount by which the proper cost of the works executed for making it good is increased by reason of the failure shall be determined by the Commission and that amount shall be deducted from so much (if any) of the payment as would otherwise have been payable to the person in default, and, so far as not so deducted, shall be recoverable as a debt due to His Majesty from him.—[The Attorney-General.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Photo of Mr Donald Somervell Mr Donald Somervell , Crewe

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

This Clause gives power to decrease the payment for damage or otherwise, to any person who has failed to take reasonable steps to prevent damage, and has, therefore, increased the extent of the damage to the property. That principle was suggested earlier, and will, I think, commend itself to the Committee. The Clause works in this way. It does not damage or prejudice in any way the claims of those persons who have not been negligent. The amount by which the damage is increased is deducted from the sum that would otherwise go to the negligent party, or if the amount of the aggravation of the damage by negligence exceeds the sum that he would receive, then it can be recovered from him as a civil debt due from him, and the amount will go to meet the just claims of the parties. I think it is a Clause which will meet with general acceptance. I might, I hope, without infringing the Rules of Order, suggest to those who were interested in the discussion just now, that the direct result of considering this Clause and its implications has some bearing perhaps on the construction of the words, giving them the wide construction it is desired.

Question, "That the Clause be read a Second time," put, and agreed to.

Photo of Rear-Admiral Tufton Beamish Rear-Admiral Tufton Beamish , Lewes

On a point of Order. I do not know whether I shall be in order in handing in a manuscript Amendment, or whether that Amendment will be called or not.

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

As no one else rose to speak on the main Question, I called the hon. and gallant Member in order that he might move his Amendment.

Photo of Mr Frederick Bellenger Mr Frederick Bellenger , Bassetlaw

Is it in order for an hon. Member to speak before you call the Amendment, or shall I be able to speak on the new Clause afterwards?

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

If an hon. Member wishes to speak on the Clause generally, he can do so on the Question, "That the Clause be added to the Bill," but I had already called the hon. and gallant Member who has an Amendment down, to move his Amendment.

Photo of Rear-Admiral Tufton Beamish Rear-Admiral Tufton Beamish , Lewes

I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed new Cause, in line 1, after the word "is," to insert "caused or."

On the general question of this Clause the Committee ought to feel a great debt of gratitude that such a Clause has been moved by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, because the Bill contains extremely few safeguards, and there is a likelihood of very large sums of the taxpayers' money being paid away unless some such safeguard as this is included in the Bill. I do not want to labour the wording of my manuscript Amendment nor to make the Clause unduly complicated, but it seems to me that if war damage to a hereditament is increased by failure, one has to realise that the war damage might equally well be caused by failure. For example, an incendiary bomb falls and does no damage at all if it is dealt with in the course of two or three minutes, or at all events certainly less than £5 worth of damage will be done, but if the bomb is allowed to get a good hold on a wooden floor or something of that kind, enormous damage may be done. I suggest that, if the words "caused or" are put in front of the word "increased," we shall have an additional safeguard, and it will make people still more careful. It is well known all over the country that a great deal of damage has been done because reasonable precautions have not been taken to prevent damage; therefore I suggest that the words "caused or" should be put in front of the word "increased" in order to make owners of property who are mentioned quite clearly in the Clause even more careful than they are at the present time.

Photo of Mr Donald Somervell Mr Donald Somervell , Crewe

I have only seen this Amendment for about two minutes, but I would ask my hon. and gallant Friend not to press it, because I think it may open up a question which we discussed before, namely, whether a person should be ruled out of the Bill altogether because he is not a fire watcher. I agree that we must have proper and adequate penalties for people who do not have fire watchers according to law, and if those penalties are not big enough, they must be increased. But if you say, "If you have no fire watcher you may lose your right to damage under this Bill," you will make it extremely difficult for the courts to deal with cases which come before them. It would be an impossible task to put it upon the Commission to inquire into all the aspects antecedent to the damage. They can inquire after the damage because at that stage the local authority is on the scene. Therefore, there are these two objections—one in principle, and one practical, to this Amendment. Another is that the Commission would have no evidence of what was happening in the building at the time a bomb descended, and while I appreciate my hon. and gallant Friend's anxiety that there should be appropriate and unpleasant consequences for those who do not fulfil their duty in this matter, I think the proper way is to strengthen, if required, the penalties which can be imposed if it is proved against them that they have not taken proper precautions.

Photo of Rear-Admiral Tufton Beamish Rear-Admiral Tufton Beamish , Lewes

I only want to say that the Attorney-General has to a great extent convinced me, and if the effect of what he has said, and of what I rather haltingly put before the Committee, is to make people realise that they have to protect the public purse and the property of the State, so much the better. Quite recently a Minister of the Crown said, of individuals who had taken insufficient care and were guilty of contributory negligence in regard to their property, that they were "guilty of passive arson." I agree with that view, so I beg to ask leave to withdraw my Amendment, feeling confident that the law as it exists to-day will be sufficient to frighten property owners into taking proper precautions for the safeguarding of their property.

Amendment to the proposed new Clause, by leave, withdrawn.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause be added to the Bill."

Photo of Mr James Milner Mr James Milner , Leeds South East

This Clause endeavours to meet a number of points which occurred during previous Debates, but I think it contains a rather serious danger. Is it the Commission who have to decide what steps a man ought reasonably to have been expected to take in order to protect his property? Supposing my home is damaged by a bomb and the roof destroyed, is it to be considered unreasonable if I do not obtain and put on the roof a tarpaulin or a steel or wooden cover? If I happen to be unable, because of lack of means, to find the money necessary to take these steps, shall I be penalised as a result? If a person is reasonably expected to take certain steps for the protection of his property, is he to be relieved if he is unable to obtain the necessary labour or materials? Who is to be the judge in these matters? What court of appeal is there to be? There is no doubt that some provision of this nature is required, but it must be subject to every possible safeguard, for otherwise those who are perhaps not as careful as they might be about these things may be subject to serious deductions from the sum which they would otherwise receive. I suggest to the Chancellor that these questions ought to be answered, and that the public ought to know where they stand. It may be right to deduct sums because of a failure to minimise the damage, but I suggest that all leniency should be extended to those offenders and that all the relevant circumstances, including the financial circumstances of the claimant, should be taken into account. If we could receive some assurance on these lines, it might help us in coming to a decision.

Photo of Mr Frederick Bellenger Mr Frederick Bellenger , Bassetlaw

Enlarging the point that has been made by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for South-East Leeds (Major Milner), I want to say that one can reasonably assume that owners of property will take whatever steps they can to protect their property as much as possible, for the simple reason that they are the owners of the property. This applies more especially if they have a mortgage on the property. As the Chancellor knows, however, many of these properties have sustained slight damage and the tenants have evacuated them. There is no further income to be obtained from such properties, and the owner has to pay ground rent, mortgage interest and so forth. In such a case, probably he has no money to take even reasonable steps to protect his property. Another point which occurs to me—and perhaps the Attorney-General can give an answer on this—is more in the nature of a legal point. The provision not only throws the onus on the owner of the equity but also on any person interested in a proprietary manner in the property or in part of it—it may be a ground landlord, another lessor, or a chain of lessors. What right in law have any of these superior owners or landlords to enter on the property and do the repairs? At the present time the physical owner of the property, the equity owner, is in complete possession, and I do not know that anybody above him has a right under the common law to enter on the property and do repairs without his permission. A further point arises from this. One assumes that one of these people who is the owner of a proprietary interest is aware that the property has been damaged. He may be living near the property, or he may be living along way from it. How is it to be proved that he was aware that the property had been damaged, and therefore, could have taken the necessary steps? These points may or may not be substantial ones, but they will arise, and it would be as well to clear them up at this stage and not allow them to cause confusion later on.

Photo of Mr Irving Albery Mr Irving Albery , Gravesend

I am in complete agreement with the principle involved in this new Clause, but I am a little anxious about the drafting. It. occurs to me that there may be some difficulty because people do not always know exactly, in the conditions under which we are existing to-day, who is the responsible owner. The Attorney-General referred back to the discussion we had on the word "direct," but as a matter of fact the omission or exclusion of a word in some of these Clauses makes a great deal of difference. I ask the Government to consider the question of including in this new Clause the word "wilful," to make it quite clear that the penalties involved are to be imposed only for what might be termed "wilful negligence."

Photo of Reverend George Woods Reverend George Woods , Finsbury

There is another aspect of this question which I do not think has been considered. In many cases local authorities have bought damaged property purely for demolition purposes. We are being compelled to pay on that property, but the last thing in the world we wish to do is to waste time or further money in protecting it. The only ques-which arises in the case of this property is the dousing of any fires which may be started. The property is bought for demolition, and it cannot be expected that we shall expend further money in safeguarding or protecting it. I do not know what claims we shall eventually have, but I should like an assurance that after paying the premiums we shall, at least, have some contribution to the new property. It seems to me that unless there is some proviso in this new Clause, any claim we might have would be invalidated, because, quite properly, we should not be wasting time in protecting this class of property. I should like to have some assurance that we shall not be penalised in such cases.

Photo of Mr Francis Douglas Mr Francis Douglas , Battersea North

I should like hon. Members to consider Sub-section (2) of this new Clause, which applies its provisions to cases in which a value payment is made. It seems impossible that a value payment could be increased by any neglect on the part of the owner of property, because the amount of the value payment is determined under Clause 4 as, the amount by which the value of the hereditament in the state in which it was immediately after the occurrence of the damage is less than its value in the state in which it was immediately before the occurrence of the damage. Therefore there is no time limit in this computation by which the damage can be aggravated by the owner's neglect.

Photo of Mr Donald Somervell Mr Donald Somervell , Crewe

My reply to the hon. Member for Finsbury (Mr. Woods) is that if the property was valueless and had been bought for demolition purposes, it was unlikely that any claim could be made for failure to keep the weather out —no doubt proper steps would be taken to see that the property did not catch fire. So far as the question put by the hon. Member for North Battersea (Mr. Douglas) is concerned, I think the answer is that the value immediately after the damage would reflect the possibility of consequential damage. I will look into that, but I think that is probably the answer. Of course, there might certainly be cases in which a valuer discovered that a claimant had caused the damage to increase to such an extent as to alter the basis of payment.

Photo of Mr Frederick Bellenger Mr Frederick Bellenger , Bassetlaw

Can the right hon. and learned Gentleman give an illustration of how that can be caused through the wilful negligence of some owner of a proprietary interest?

Photo of Mr Donald Somervell Mr Donald Somervell , Crewe

1 am not an expert on damage to property, but take the familiar case of a house with a skylight. The skylight could very well be covered by a tarpaulin. The local authority provides the tarpaulin, but the householder does not put it on, and, as the result, rain pours in. That goes on for week after week, and you might easily get a case in which, if the tarpaulin had been promptly put on, there would be a small amount of damage, but, through its being left open to the weather, it is almost irreparable.

Photo of Mr Frederick Bellenger Mr Frederick Bellenger , Bassetlaw

The local authority should complete the job and put it on themselves.

Photo of Mr Donald Somervell Mr Donald Somervell , Crewe

It is not in all cases the duty of the local authority. I have done it myself. Local authorities have plenty of work to do in looking after the houses of people for whom it was not so easy as it was for me to get a tarpaulin and do the temporary repairs myself. Some people suggest that the Clause is a little too severe and that it ought to be "wilful" failure. I am not quite sure about that. This is a failure to take reasonable steps, but that question is not to be decided by the Commission. The Clause does not give the Commission a discretion to decide it finally, and it could go to the courts. If it was sough to be recovered as a debt, that may be provided for already. But I will undertake to look into the question. It may be that there is not a clear provision at present for taking a question of this kind to the courts in doubtful cases. I do not think the court, or indeed the Commission, are likely to set too severe a standard of what is reasonable, but I think it is a salutory principle that people should realise that their compensation may be cut down if they do not take reasonable steps. There may be cases where the owner of a house, but for a provision of this kind, might think it to his interest to let the rain come in because he was going to get a cost-of-works payment.

Photo of Mr James Milner Mr James Milner , Leeds South East

He would be running a great risk.

Photo of Mr Donald Somervell Mr Donald Somervell , Crewe

This Clause is the risk that he will run, and that is why I think the principle is a sound one. It is not quite a case where the interests of the owner of property will necessarily force him to take reasonable care. It is like any other case where a risk is insured where it may be that, short of a provision of this kind, a man will say, "If I can get the money for extra damage, it does not much matter." Therefore, on the whole, I think it is better to leave it at "increased by failure." One must trust both the Commissioners and the courts, in this as in other matters, to apply a reason able standard in all circumstances. I hope I have now dealt with the various questions —

Photo of Mr Frederick Bellenger Mr Frederick Bellenger , Bassetlaw

There is the point about the various interests.

Photo of Mr Donald Somervell Mr Donald Somervell , Crewe

I think there is a misconception there. A person interested may be a tenant for life: he is not the owner, but he is a person interested. He would normally be the person in occupation and therefore the person on whom the duty would fall. As regards those who are not on the spot— a mortgagee or a landlord who is living away—I think it is difficult to imagine circumstances in which they will be concerned with this Clause at all, because no duty is placed on them to deal with the premises. That must be the duty of the occupier. Normally they would not be on the spot at all.

Photo of Mr James Milner Mr James Milner , Leeds South East

The right hon. and learned Gentleman said "the occupier." He means the owner, I think.

Photo of Mr Donald Somervell Mr Donald Somervell , Crewe

No, I think that prima facie the duty is on the occupier.

Photo of Mr Francis Douglas Mr Francis Douglas , Battersea North

Suppose the owner does the repairs in the normal course?

Photo of Mr Donald Somervell Mr Donald Somervell , Crewe

Supposing that he is on the spot, then he goes round and takes charge and is the person who is dealing with the matter, and it may well be found that he has failed to take reasonable steps. It is to some extent, as it must be, a question of fact as to which of the persons interested is the person on whom the duty falls, and therefore he may be guilty of a failure to take reasonable steps.

Photo of Mr James Milner Mr James Milner , Leeds South East

With all respect to the Attorney-General, his reply is not, I feel, satisfactory. Obviously when he speaks of the various interests involved he is looking only at the interests of the individual on the spot, and he appears to cast some duty upon the occupier. Unless the occupier is either the owner or the mortgagee or has some other similar interest, he is under no obligation to do anything at all. I think the right hon. and learned Gentleman agrees with that.

Photo of Mr Donald Somervell Mr Donald Somervell , Crewe

There may be a misunderstanding, I fear. The question will be whether the person making a claim has failed to take reasonable steps which might otherwise have been taken to limit the damage. That person may be the owner or may be the occupier—if he is a weekly tenant probably he has no interest at all—or may be, though I think it is unlikely, a mortgagee in possession. The courts will have to be satisfied about the relationship of the person making the claim to the property and that he failed to take reasonable steps.

Photo of Mr James Milner Mr James Milner , Leeds South East

The Committee are obliged to the right hon. and learned Gentleman who, I feel, has somewhat clarified the situation, but this is a most important matter. The Clause is, in effect, a penal one. It also, I think, operates retrospectively and may therefore cover many cases which have already taken place. Having regard to the way in which we have, in the main, agreed upon everything which has come before the Committee hitherto, I would suggest that the right hon. and learned Gentleman should look into this again, because I am sure he desires to be fair and reasonable in the matter. I do not think it should go forth that claimants are to be penalised for every small piece of neglect which may have occurred, for one reason or another. In only the most extreme cases should the provisions of the Clause be brought into force. I hope that the Attorney-General will look into the matter again from that point of view, because, as it is at present, the Clause might have very serious consequences, and if put into operation might cost a great deal more than would be gained by it.

Photo of Mr Frederick Bellenger Mr Frederick Bellenger , Bassetlaw

I support the remarks just made by my hon. and gallant Friend. I cannot even now, after listening to the Attorney-General, understand why the Clause has been put forward. His explanation seemed to show that there would not be a great possibility of cases being brought before the court to decide whether claimants had been negligent or not. As for his example of the claimant who, in order to get on a cost of works basis instead of a valuation basis, allowed deterioration to occur, I cannot see that point at all. I thought the Attorney-General said that a claimant might leave his skylight open, for the rain would pour in so that more damage would be done, and that then the claimant might get a cost of works payment. If he is to get a valuation payment it will obviously be less than the cost-of-works payment, and therefore I cannot see that the illustration was substantial and offered any reason for including the Clause.

It all depends upon the interpretation given by the courts to the word "reasonable." I am not conversant with court practice in such a matter, but the Committee ought to have a proper explanation from the Government of why the Clause is being put in at all. In my previous remarks I think I said, and I hope I proved, that every owner who has hopes of getting benefit out of his property at some time, during or after the war, will take whatever steps he can to preserve that interest. I cannot see, therefore, that he is likely to penalise himself by what the Attorney-General called negligence. At any rate, I have not heard from the Attorney-General an illustration of what that negligence might be. He talked about his own house being supplied by the local authority with a tarpaulin to put over his skylight. I do not know whether that actually happened to him, but if so, he was taking steps to protect his own interest, probably his furniture as well as the property, for his own personal convenience. He put a tarpaulin or a piece of linoleum over the skylight for his own convenience, and that is what most occupiers would do.

The Government should look at this Clause again and make sure that, by putting it in, they are not merely hoping to catch a body of people who will not take steps to protect their own property, but that they may not be penalising many honest folk who, for reasons that any ordinary man can understand and over which they have no control, have allowed some slight, or increasing, deterioration to take place. I do not know what the interpretation of the courts may be, but such deterioration would be no real fault of the person concerned, or that they could remedy. I have already explained that many owners have not the means to take steps to stop deterioration of this kind. I hope that the proposed new Clause will not lay open the way to lots of court actions or lots of arguments before the Commission, in which case the value payment, or a considerable part of it, may be dissipated in costs. I hope also that this is not the intention of the Government, and that they will therefore take steps to look at the matter again

Photo of Mr Rhys Davies Mr Rhys Davies , Westhoughton

1 have seen this sort of thing actually in practice already, and I would ask the Minister to follow what happens. When a house is damaged by enemy action, the first thing an owner finds is that he cannot get anybody in the building trade to come to his aid and to put the house into such a condition that it will not deteriorate. I want the Government to understand this, because this is a very serious matter, especially to the man who owns the house in which he lives. Where a person owns a large number of cottages he has always got a contract with the builder, and the builder is in contact with him all the time and will repair his property, but I know of a little district outside Manchester where persons living in their own cottages have been completely unable to find people to repair their property and prevent its being damaged by snow and rain and wind. Can the right hon. Gentleman say that if such a person puts that argument before the Board, he will be regarded as coming within this Clause? In such a case the owner of the house simply goes to the builder, and the builder replies, "I cannot spare a slater or a plasterer or a joiner," and so the house deteriorates, but the owner will not be able to produce a single document to prove that he has done his best to prevent the house deteriorating. I ask the right hon. Gentleman to consider that point.

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

I will take into consideration what has been said, but I must say that I do not think there has been expressed here this afternoon the views held by a very large number of people in this country, if I am to judge from communications sent to me. My hon. Friend said that all owners were taking precautions. I think he had better make some inquiries in the City concerning that. He would have a very different story told him, as many of us know. Already we have had experience of a certain amount of damage that has been caused through people failing to take precautions which they ought to take, not only in their own interests, but in the interests of other people. A lot of people have written to me in most indignant terms and pressed me very strongly indeed. I want my hon. Friend to realise that this deals only with cases of negligence. In the case that he has cited it would not be held that a person was negligent. I will, however, see whether any further improvement can be made. That has been my attitude in regard to this Bill all the time. We will study the points that have been mentioned and, if necessary, make further suggestions.

Photo of Viscount  Turnour Viscount Turnour , Horsham and Worthing

While I sympathise with a good deal that has been said by my hon. Friend on this side of the Committee and think there is a great deal in what he said, there is also a good deal in what the Chancellor said. I would like to go further than the Chancellor could go and argue against those who may be described as my own class—the property owners. I am sorry to say there is some evidence to show that certain owners of property, great or small, are only too anxious to see their property destroyed in order to get compensation. We have to remember that, because that to some extent nullifies the disadvantages that my hon. Friend sees in this particular proposal.

Photo of Mr Frederick Bellenger Mr Frederick Bellenger , Bassetlaw

I should like to say that if such is the case, particularly in the City of London, and if, because of neglect of owners which they themselves could remedy, damage is being caused not only to their own property but to others, I have not the slightest sympathy with them. All I am concerned with is the case of people like myself, if I may say so, who are only too willing to do what they can but whose means are limited.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

NEW CLAUSE —(Temporary use or occupation of land owing to war to bed is regarded for purposes of contribution.)

Where the normal use or occupation of any land is such that it would fail within paragraph (a) or paragraph (b) of the proviso to Sub-section (3) of Section sixteen of this Act, then if and so long as it is temporarily diverted from such use or occupation by reason of circumstances arising from war, the land shall be deemed for the purposes of Sections fifteen and sixteen of this Act to be used or occupied as it is normally used or occupied.—[Sir K. Wood.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

This Clause enables the temporary use or occupation of land owing to the war to be disregarded for purposes of contribution. By Clause 16, Sub-section (3) agricultural land pays a contribution at the 6d. rate. The question has been raised of agricultural land being temporarily used for non-agricultural purposes owing to the war; for example, a barn being used for refugees. Despite the diversion of the land from its normal use it would still be liable to the ordinary agricultural rate of 6d., and this new Clause makes that point plain.

Photo of Mr Francis Douglas Mr Francis Douglas , Battersea North

I assume that this Clause applies to cases where land is requisitioned by authority, and not to cases where the owner, for his own profit and benefit, diverts it to some other purpose? I do not know whether the wording makes that fact clear, but I think a distinction ought to be drawn.

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

I am not sure about that, but I will look into it. If an owner of land did divert his property in that way I do not think that he should be able to use his right under the scheme. Of course, it does not make a person any more beneficent to the nation if he, compulsorily, uses his property in a certain way, but on the other hand if it is being used as the hon. Member has suggested, the point should be taken note of.

Question put, and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

NEW CLAUSE.—(Air raid shelters.)

  1. (1)Works executed by a local authority for making good war damage to an air-raid shelter (in this section referred to as "a shelter"), shall not be the subject of a payment of cost of works or of a temporary works payment—
    1. (a) if the shelter is a building or structure erected by a local authority as a shelter, in respect of the erection whereof a grant was payable to the local authority either under the Air Raid Precautions Act, 1937, or by the Minister of Home Security out of moneys provided by Parliament (otherwise than under section twenty-two of the Civil Defence Act, 1939); or
    2. (b) if the shelter is comprised in a building and there were executed by a local authority works (being works in respect of the execution whereof a grant was payable as aforesaid) for the purpose of the provision of the shelter, so far as regards works the purpose of the execution whereof is the provision of a shelter.
  2. (2)Works executed by a local authority for making good war damage to a shelter shall not be the subject of a payment of cost of works or of a temporary works payment if the shelter is a building or structure which was elected by any person wholly or mainly with materials provided on behalf of His Majesty under the Air Raid Precautions Act, 1937, free of charge.
  3. (3) No value payment shall be made in respect of a hereditament consisting of any such building or structure as is mentioned in paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of this section or in subsection (2) thereof, or which consists of a building or structure erected, wholly at the expense of the Board of Education, for the purpose of affording air raid shelter to pupils attending a school or educational institution, and so much (if any) of the value of a here ditament as is attributable to its comprising 0r being in the vicinity of—
    1. (a)a building or structure as to which the conditions specified in paragraph (a) or
    2. (b)of the said subsection (1) or in the said subsection (2) are satisfied; or
    3. (b) a building or structure erected, wholly at the expense of the Board of Education, for the purpose aforesaid; or
    4. (c) a shelter comprised in a building, being a shelter the works necessary for the provision whereof were executed wholly at the expense of the Board of Education;
    shall be disregarded.
  4. (4)Any question arising in giving effect to the provisions of this section shall be deter mined by the Commission.
  5. (5)In this section— the expressions "air raid shelter" and "an air raid shelter" have the same meanings as in the Civil Defence Act, 1939; the expression "local authority" means the Common Council of the City of London, the council of a metropolitan borough, the council of a county, county borough or county district, or the Council of the Isles of Scilly.—[Captain Crookshank.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Photo of Captain Harry Crookshank Captain Harry Crookshank , Gainsborough

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

The object of this Clause is to remove from the scope of the Bill for contribution of compensation, air-raid shelters provided by local authorities at the expense of the Exchequer. I think that this is a commonsense proposition, like so many others in the Bill.

Photo of Mr James Milner Mr James Milner , Leeds South East

I think we should like some explanation of this Clause from the point of view of who, in this case, will pay for the damage. Will the Treasury make a grant?

Photo of Mr James Milner Mr James Milner , Leeds South East

I am obliged for that explanation, because the municipal authorities are very dissatisfied with regard to financial grants in respect of air-raid shelters. As the hon. and gallant Gentleman knows, up to 19th October only a proportion of the expenditure was paid to the active municipal authorities who erected the air-raid shelters, and the laggards who had not troubled to erect shelters in the early days but who erected them since 19th October last year are receiving 100 per cent, from the Treasury. As I understand it, where the Treasury have contributed, whether it be in part or in whole, they would presumably contribute in the future in whole to the cost of reinstatement or re-erection of the air-raid shelters. I would like it to be made clear, if it is the case, that the whole cost of any reinstatement or re-erection will be borne by the State under the ordinary provisions with regard to air-raid shelters and not in any way in connection with this Bill.

Photo of Captain Harry Crookshank Captain Harry Crookshank , Gainsborough

There may be a difference between those two points of view, but I can say that the Association of Municipal Corporations has seen and discussed this matter and took no objection to it.

Question put, and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

NEW CLAUSE—(Shooting, fishing and other rights.)

  1. (1) An instalment of contribution becoming due in any year in respect of a contributory property consisting of such rights over any land as are mentioned in Section six of the Rating Act, 1874, shall in all cases be paid by the direct contributor in respect of the instalment of contribution for that year on the contributory property comprising the land, and the provisions of this Act relating to the recovery and ultimate incidence of instalments of contribution shall apply as if the instalment on the rights formed part of the instalment on the land:
    • Provided that where the land is comprised in more than one contributory property—
    1. (a) i the same person is not the direct contributor in respect of all the contributory properties comprising the land, the Commissioners of Inland Revenue, in consultation with the rating authority for the area in which those properties are situated, shall apportion to each property or group of properties having a separate direct contributor such proportion of the instalment on the rights as, having regard to the contributory values of the properties, they may deter mine;
    2. (b) the Commissioners, in consultation with the authority aforesaid, shall, on the application of any person interested as, or as a mortgagee of, a direct or indirect contributor in respect of any of the properties, certify the proportion of the instalment on the rights which, having regard to the contributory values of the properties, is apportionable to the property in question,
    and the provisions of this sub-section, other than the proviso thereto, shall apply as if the proportion of the instalment on the rights apportioned, or certified to be apportionable, to any of the properties were an instalment in respect of such rights as aforesaid over land wholly comprised in that property.
  2. (2) An instalment of contribution on a contributory property consisting of such rights as aforesaid shall be payable, notwithstanding that at the relevant date the rights no longer subsist, or are no longer severed from the land.—[The Attorney-General.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Photo of Mr Donald Somervell Mr Donald Somervell , Crewe

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

This Clause covers cases in which the sporting or shooting rights are assessed separately under the Act of 1874 because they are in hands other than those of the occupier of the soil. The Clause provides that the contribution in respect of those rights shall be paid by the contributor in respect of the soil, which I think is ob- viously right as the Committee will see in considering the two following parallel cases. In the case of a property of which the annual value is £200, including the sporting rights, the contribution is levied on that figure and covers the sporting rights as well. If the sporting rights are separate and are worth £20, £180 will be left on the occupier of the soil. As the compensation in respect of damage will go to the owner of the soil, it seems right that he should make the contribution in respect of the two interests when they are separate as well as when they are in the same hands. A proviso is added to cover cases in which sporting rights are in the hands of a third party when the land is comprised in more than one contributory property.

Question "That the Clause be read a Second time," put, and agreed to.

Photo of Sir George Courthope Sir George Courthope , Rye

I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed new Clause, in line 3, after "shall," to insert "subject to the provisions of this section,".

My right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General has explained this and the following Amendments on the Paper to the proposed new Clause, so I need not bother the House with any details. In fact, he has recommended the Chancellor's Clause with my Amendments inserted.

Amendment to the proposed new Clause agreed to.

Further Amendments made to the proposed new Clause:

In line 26, at the end, insert: ( ) Where a direct contributor in respect of a contributory property who would be under a liability under the last preceding subsection to pay an instalment, or an apportioned part of an instalment, on any such rights as are mentioned in that subsection proves that the contributory value of the property took into account the value of all or any of the rights, the Commissioners of Inland Revenue shall give to the contributor such relief, by way of reducing or discharging the said liability, as appears to them just having regard to the extent to which the rights were taken into account as aforesaid.

In line 27, at the beginning, insert: "Subject to the provisions of the last preceding subsection."—[Sir G. Courthope.]

Clause, as amended, added to the Bill.

NEW CLAUSE.—(Indemnities payable and recoverable notwithstanding agreements to contrary.)

The provisions of this Part of this Act and of the Fourth Schedule thereto relating to the payment and recovery of indemnities in respect of the liability of a director indirect contributor in respect of an instalment of contribution shall have effect notwithstanding any agreement to the contrary, whether made before or after the instalment became due— [Sir K. Wood.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

This Clause is introduced to meet an objection raised by my hon. Friend opposite to the effect that the power to "contract out" under Clause 23 might be abused by a mortgagee. It was suggested that a mortgagee might force a mortgagor to accept an unfavourable agreement, and this new Clause, covers not only Clause 19 and the Fourth Schedule, but also covers Clause 22.

Question put, and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

NEW CLAUSE.—(Assignment of proceedings arising under this Act to special judges)

  1. (1)The Lord Chancellor may nominate such number of judges of the High Court as appears to him to be expedient as nominated judges for the purposes of this Act.
  2. (2)Subject to rules of court, and to any power of transfer from one judge to another, any proceedings in the High Court for the enforcement of any right conferred by this Act shall, so far as is practicable, be heard and determined by one or more, as the case may require, of the nominated judges, and if in any proceedings in the High Court an issue arises which involves the determination of the construction or effect of this Act, the court or a judge thereof may, in accordance with and subject to rules of court, direct that the proceedings be heard and determined as afore said.—[The Attorney-General.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Photo of Mr Donald Somervell Mr Donald Somervell , Crewe

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

The Committee are probably aware that under certain Statutes there are provisions by which cases which come to court under those Statutes are heard by certain nominated judges. That is a very convenient procedure, because the judges become familiar with the terms of the Statute. This Clause enables the Lord Chancellor to nominate for the hearing of cases under this Act such judges of the High Court as appear to him expedient. We do not move this Clause in anticipation of a flood of litigation: we hope that it will be possible to work this Measure without undue resort by parties to the courts; but this is a useful power for the Lord Chancellor to have.

Question put, and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

NEW CLAUSE.—(Restriction on disclosure of information)

  1. (1)No information relating to any individual business, being information which has been obtained by, or on behalf of, any person for the purposes of his functions under this Act shall, without the previous consent in writing of the owner for the time being of that business, be published or disclosed other wise than in connection with the execution or for the purposes of this Act or any order, regulation or scheme having effect by virtue of this Act.
  2. (2)Nothing in the preceding Sub-section shall apply to any disclosure of any information made for the purposes of any legal proceedings pursuant to this Act (including any appeal or reference under Section seven or ten thereof) or of any criminal proceedings which may be taken whether pursuant to this Act or otherwise, or for the purposes of any report of any such proceedings as aforesaid.
  3. (3)If any person discloses any information in conravention of this Section, he shall be liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or to a fine not exceeding fifty pounds or to both such imprisonment and such fine or, on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to a fine not exceeding one hundred pounds or to both such imprisonment and such fine.—[Sir K. Wood.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

This, again, is to meet points which have been raised. It was suggested on the Committee stage that there should be some safeguard against disclosure of information.

Question put, and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

NEW CLAUSE —(Power to enter Premises)

  1. (1) A member of the Commission or any person authorised in writing by the Commission may, on producing, if so required, his authority, or in the case of a member of the Commission sufficient documentary evidence of his identity, enter at all reasonable hours any premises on which war damage has occurred or on which he has reasonable ground for believing war damage to have occurred, for the purpose of obtaining information as to the nature and extent of the damage, as to the state in which the premises were immediately before, or immediately after, the occurrence of the damage, as to any works executed for the purpose of making good the damage or for temporarily meeting the circumstances created thereby, as to any articles which formed part of the premises and become available as materials in consequence of the damage, as to whether any conditions imposed by the Commission under this Part of this Act have been observed, or as to any other matter as to which information may be reasonably required by the Commission for the purpose of the exercise of any of their functions:
    • Provided that if the premises are occupied, admission thereto shall not be demanded as of right unless twenty-four hours notice of the intended entry has been given to the occupier.
  2. (2) Any person who wilfully obstructs a member of the Commission or a person authorised by them in the exercise of powers conferred on him by this Section shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding fifty pounds.—[Sir K. Wood.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

It will be necessary for the staff of the Commission to enter premises which have suffered war damage, in order to make inspections and to carry out their duties under the scheme.

Question put, and agreed to

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

NEW CLAUSE.—(Variation of rate of premium under private chattels scheme with amount of indemnity provided)

The premiums prescribed for insurance under the private chattels scheme may be such as to secure that the rate of premium varies in such manner as may be prescribed for any prescribed increase in the amount insured by any person.—[Sir K. Wood.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

This simply follows the procedure which I outlined earlier to-day, and gives power to vary the rate of premium.

Question put, and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill

NEW CLAUSE.—(Provisions as to regulations and orders)

  1. (1) Any regulations made under this Act by the Treasury and any order made thereunder by the Board of Trade shall, as soon as may be after the making thereof, be laid before Parliament, and if either House of Parliament within the period of twenty-eight days beginning with the day on which any such regulations or order are or is laid before it resolves that the regulations or order be annulled, the regulations or order shall there upon become void, without prejudice, however, to the validity of anything previously done thereunder or to the making of new regulations or a new order.
    • In reckoning any such period of twenty-eight days as aforesaid, no account shall be taken of any time during which Parliament is dissolved or prorogued, or during which both Houses are adjourned for more than four days.
  2. (2)Notwithstanding anything in Sub-section (4) of Section one of the Rules' Publication Act, 1893, regulations made under this Act by the Treasury shall be deemed not to be, or to contain, statutory rules to which that Section applies.
  3. (3)Any order made under this Act by the Board of Trade may be varied or revoked by a subsequent order so made and subject to the like conditions as the original order.—[Sir K. Wood.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

This is a drafting Amendment, following upon an undertaking that I gave.

Photo of Colonel Sir Joseph Nall Colonel Sir Joseph Nall , Manchester Hulme

I suppose it is not intended to deal by way of regulation with such questions as the liability of owners in the case of wilful neglect to undertake repairs?

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

No, we should not have power to do that.

Question put, and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

NEW CLAUSE —(Liability of Northern Ireland government departments as mortgagees)

  1. (1)A department of the Government of Northern Ireland shall be under the same liabilities as mortgagee of a direct or indirect contributor as a subject of the realm.
  2. (2)Section twenty of this Act shall, in its application to a contributory property which is subject to a charge created in respect of the repayment of an advance under the Acts relating to land purchase in Northern Ireland, have effect subject to the following modifications:—
    1. (a)any reference to the amount secured by the mortgage shall be construed as a reference to the amount necessary to redeem the outstanding instalments of the purchase annuity payable in respect of the advance;
    2. (b)any reference to the mortgagee shall be construed as a reference to the Ministry of Finance for Northern Ireland;
    3. (c)paragraph (b) of Sub-section (7) shall not apply.—[Sir K. Wood.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

This deals with the liability of Northern Ireland Government Departments as mortgagees, and makes provision as to their liability.

Question put, and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

NEW CLAUSE.—(Wages and conditions of employment for works the subject of payments under Part I.)

  1. (1)The Commission may specify requirements as to contracts for the execution of works, the cost of which may be the subject of a. payment of cost of works or the execution of which may be the subject of an undertaking required in relation to the receipt of a value payment by virtue of section eight of this Act, and requirements as to the engagement of employees by persons undertaking directly the execution of such works, for securing that the wages and conditions of employment of persons employed in the execution thereof are regulated in like manner as those of persons employed in the execution of works under contracts made by Government departments.
  2. (2)Such requirements as aforesaid shall be observed, as a condition of the right to receive the payment of cost of works or as a term of the undertaking, as the case may be, in such cases as the Commission may specify generally by notice published in such manner as they think best for informing persons likely to be affected and in any other cases in which the Commission require observance thereof by notice given or sent to the claimant for the payment in question.—[Mr. Douglas.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Photo of Mr Francis Douglas Mr Francis Douglas , Battersea North

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

The object of the Clause is to secure the application of fair wages conditions, and I think it requires no explanation.

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

I am prepared to accept the Clause.

Question put, and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill

FIRST SCHEDULE.—(Constitution and Procedure of the War Damage Commission.]

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

I beg to move, in page 69, line 27, at the end, to insert including the manner in which, and the officers of the Commission by whom, questions subject to determination by the Commission under this Act are to be determined and the manner in which determinations made by officers acting in any locality are to be subject to review by a deputy commissioner or other superior officer or by members of the Commission. I stated that I contemplated that the Commission would have to delegate to officers at centres in the provinces powers to settle small claims, and that it might be necessary for me to move an Amendment to enable the Commission to do that, and for officers to be appointed if necessary. That is the object of this Amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made: In page 69, line 30, after the first "such," insert "deputy commissioners and."—[Sir K. Wood.]

Schedule, as amended, agreed to.

Second Schedule agreed to.

THIRD SCHEDULE —(Payments under Part I in cases of repeated damage)

Amendment made: In page 72, line 25, leave out paragraph 5.—[Sir K. Wood.]

Schedule, as amended, agreed to.

FOURTH SCHEDULE.

Amendment made: In page 74, line 27, column 1, at the beginning, insert "5 or more, but."—[Sir K. Wood.]

Schedule, as amended, agreed to.

Fifth Schedule agreed to.

Bill reported, with Amendments; as amended, in Committee and on Recommittal, considered; to be read the Third time upon the next Sitting Day.