Oral Answers to Questions — Requisitioned Premises.

– in the House of Commons on 25th June 1942.

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Photo of Mr William Craven-Ellis Mr William Craven-Ellis , Southampton

asked the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been called to instructions in reference to the requisitioning of property that compensation should be paid on the assumption that no licence would be granted to open a business establishment; and, in view of the fact that this must always operate against the owner, will he issue instructions that the rent should be equitable in all the circumstances with no assumption against the owner?

Photo of Mr Arthur Henderson Mr Arthur Henderson , Kingswinford

If a claimant wishes his property to be assessed as a shop for the purposes of compensation, although it was not open as a shop at the time of requisition and could not under Statutory Rules and Orders 1784 and 1933 of 1941 have been opened as a shop without a licence, then it is for the claimant to produce evidence that he would, in fact, have received a licence to open the premises as a shop, if they had not been requisitioned.

Photo of Mr William Craven-Ellis Mr William Craven-Ellis , Southampton

Am I to understand from the hon. and learned Gentleman that if the Board of Trade refuse a licence for a shop, that discounts the value of the shop? Do the War Office negotiate on the basis of the rent pre-war?

Photo of Mr Arthur Henderson Mr Arthur Henderson , Kingswinford

So far as the War Office are concerned, we take the position at the time the premises are requisitioned, which means that if no licence has been issued at that time, we cannot take into account any hypothetical situation that might have arisen if the premises had not been requisitioned.

Photo of Mr William Craven-Ellis Mr William Craven-Ellis , Southampton

Is it not a fact that that gives the War Office and other Government Departments a monopoly of empty property on their own estimates?

Photo of Mr Arthur Henderson Mr Arthur Henderson , Kingswinford

No, Sir. I think it means that the War Office take the premises as they find them on the date on which they are requisitioned.