asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his attention has been directed to the fact that preventable damage is caused by premises being left locked when the keys are not readily available; and whether he will ensure that property-owners who neglect these precautions are not eligible for compensation for losses by fire so sustained?
I assume that my hon. Friend refers to war damage by fire. The suggestion would require legislation. It was considered during the passage of the War Damage Bill through the House, but the conclusion reached was that there were great practical difficulties in including such a provision in the Act.
Has my right hon. Friend's attention been drawn to the statement of the Commissioner for the Midland Region that a great deal of pre- ventable damage was caused in the recent air attack by firms leaving their premises locked and no one having access to the keys, and does he not think that despite the legislative difficulties this continuous waste and danger to the whole community should be scotched by this Measure or something approximating to it?
I read a report of that case, but my hon. Friend will no doubt recollect that we discussed this at great length on the War Damage Bill, and came to the conclusion that it really was not practicable to adopt a suggestion of this kind.