Let us take a case in which reconstruction took place before the Ministry of Works and Buildings imposed their limitation about doing repairs without their licence. Suppose it took place after the war broke out. If there is physical reconstruction, immediately there is reassessment of the property. My right hon. and gallant Friend says that in those circumstances the War Damage Commission want a bigger contribution based on the re-assessment of that reconstructed property. He also says, reverting to the War Damage Act, 1941, that the owner of such reconstructed property will not get a valuation payment, if his premises are demolished, on the reconstruction value, even though he is paying War Damage Contribution on a revised assessment. Let us consider what that means. The War Damage Commission want the best of both worlds. They want higher War Damage Contribution based on the higher Schedule A assessment, but they are not prepared to pay more than the March, 1939, value of the property.
What ever the merits of this Amendment may be—and I am not altogether in sympathy with the purposes of the Mover—this imposes a hardship on many owners of property. I agree, where we have a rough and ready method such as this, we must accept its implications. It will be very difficult, as was suggested, to pay contributions on the capital value of property—some hon. Members suggested on a former occasion taking fire insurance values as a basis. I suggest the Government ought to consider the point I have brought to the notice of my right hon. and gallant Friend, namely, that if the Amendment cannot be accepted, a higher rate of contribution should not be demanded merely because there happens to be a re-assessment when physical reconstruction has taken place. As to a general re-assessment, I would remind my right hon. and gallant Friend that under Section 21 of the Finance Act, 1930, the income and out-goings of properties are taken into account by Inspectors of Taxes and Income Tax is reduced according to the net profit shown. My right hon. and gallant Friend is not quite aright when he says there is no re-assessment, because re-assessment, although it is not called by that name, is taking place all the time by the Inland Revenue Department. My-purpose is to draw attention to the fact that owners of property who may have had their assessment altered after September, 1939, will have to pay higher rates of contribution, although they will not receive higher rates of compensation.