I have inquired into the circumstances of the case and have ascertained that this house was damaged by fire during its occupation by the military. The repair of the house for continued military occupation was not considered necessary and the house is no longer required for military use. It was derequisitioned accordingly; the owner's claim for compensation for damage under Section 2 (1, b) of the Compensation (Defence) Act, 1939, is being negotiated. I have no power to repair property not required by the military or to continue to hold such property on requisition.
Does not my right hon. Friend think that it is grossly unfair, having allowed the house to be burnt out during the occupation of the military, that he should then de-requisition it and refuse compensation for longer than such period during which it could be repaired unless authority could be obtained from the Ministry of Health; and should there not be full compensation until it could be put into a proper state of repair?
The compensation for the damage done will be paid, and the claim is at present being negotiated. I quite agree with my hon. Friend that this is one of the hard cases, and I have done my best to see if I could find any way around it, but I have not been able to do so. An unfortunate feature arises from the fact that, even after compensation is paid, it is not possible for the owner himself to put the building into repair. In that respect he is in the same position as a house-owner or anyone else whose house has been bombed and who cannot get permission from the Ministry of Works and Planning to repair the building.