Mr. De la BÃ¨re:
asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will give an assurance that the branch of his Department which deals with the requisitioning of houses, public halls and buildings throughout the country is now adequately staffed; and if he will, in so far as is compatible with military requirements, make an endeavour to expedite the release of these properties, in view of the overwhelming demand for accommodation by the public.
Sir J. GriÄ£Ä£:
I am perfectly well aware of the feeling, but unfortunately there are future liabilities which have to be cared for. However, I assure my hon. Friend that this matter of the large number of requisitioned properties constantly engages my personal attention, and I will certainly go into it very thoroughly. But there is bound to be a great deal of conflict between the needs of our returning soldiers, either on the release plan or as returning prisoners of war, and the desire of property owners to have their property released. I will try to reduce that conflict to the narrowest possible limit.
asked the Secretary of State for War, in view of the fact that large areas of agricultural and common land requisitioned far training are no longer required for that purpose, what steps he is taking to have as much of such land as possible derequisitioned at the earliest moment.
Sir J. GriÄ£Ä£:
As soon as it is clear that land will not be needed for training it is given up, and over 4,000,000 acres have recently been returned to their original use. This figure includes land requisitioned under Defence Regulation 51, and land over which training rights were acquired under Defence Regulation 52. Some areas still retained are perhaps not being used at the moment, but it is expected that they will be needed later.
Is it not the fact that the War Office are not making up their mind because heavy payments are due for damage to requisitioned land, and they are not prepared to face up to the decision?