asked the Minister of Supply what has been the relation between the premiums paid by the Government and the claims received up to the 31st December, 1941, under the arrangement whereby stocks under the control of the Ministry are insured against fire risks with insurance companies and Lloyds; and, where payments have been made for expenses other than those contained in the premiums, what relation do these bear to the claims received?
The amount of the claims settled up to 31st December last, in respect of insured stocks of raw materials under my control, is roughly 25 per cent. of the total amount of premiums paid to that date. In addition, certain claims were outstanding, and certain heavy claims have since been made. No payments have been made for expenses other than those contained in premiums.
Does not my right hon. Friend consider that it would be a more straightforward policy, if it is desirable to maintain the financial strength of these insurance companies, to pay them a direct subsidy, rather than to carry out this policy of insuring Government stocks?