Oral Answers to Questions — Malta War Damage (British Government's Gift)

– in the House of Commons on 10th November 1942.

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Photo of Sir Patrick Hannon Sir Patrick Hannon , Birmingham Moseley

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assistance His Majesty's Government propose to afford the Government and people of Malta in meeting the heavy cost of repairing and restoring the severe damage suffered by that island in the attacks on it?

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

The repair of the heavy war damage inflicted by the enemy on Malta is clearly a task which would be beyond the unaided financial resources of the Government of Malta and the property owners within any reasonable postwar period. I think there will be general agreement that the outstanding gallantry shown by the people of Malta in the face of enemy atacks of unprecedented length and severity, calls for some special recognition. In view, therefore, of the unique position of Malta and of the extraordinary sufferings which it has so gallantry undergone, His Majesty's Government propose to seek the approval of Parliament for a free gift of £10,000,000 to the Government of Malta to be used for the purpose of restoration of war damage and the rebuilding of Malta after the war. They propose that this sum should be paid in the first place to Trustees to be nominated who will make the money available to the Government of Malta as and when required. The gift will be available for meeting liabilities under legislation which with the approval of His Majesty's Government the Government of Malta have put before the Council of Government providing for schemes of compensation for war damage of property on lines generally similar to those in this country, as well as any other expenses incidental to post-war rebuilding. If the actual expenditure under those heads falls short of the total voted, the balance will be applied to other purposes beneficial to Malta after the war.

If, on the other hand, the total liability of the Government of Malta for compensation and rebuilding, after allowing for contributions from property owners, exceeds the sum of £10,000,000, His Majesty's Government will be prepared to make available such further sums as may be required to meet liabilities which are found, in the circumstances as existing after the war, to be beyond the capacity of the Government of Malta to meet from its own resources, having regard to all other calls upon these resources at that time.

A Vote will be submitted to Parliament for this purpose as soon as possible.

Photo of Sir Patrick Hannon Sir Patrick Hannon , Birmingham Moseley

Has the Chancellor taken steps to make this decision of His Majesty's Government widely known throughout the Colonial Empire and the United States?

Photo of Mr Ian Hannah Mr Ian Hannah , Wolverhampton Bilston

Are the Government fully aware of our great responsibility to preserve the historic monuments of that island?