asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the War Damage Commission will include in cost of works payments the additional cost of making good damage caused by deterioration or looting of building materials when such additional damage is caused either by delay on the part of the War Damage Commission in deciding that the building attracts a cost of works payment or when a value payment notification is later rescinded in favour of a cost of works payment.
As regards deterioration, I would remind my hon. and gallant Friend that the owner of a war-damaged property may claim from the War Damage Commission the proper cost of any tem- porary works reasonably executed to protect his building against deterioration before the Commission have decided that a value payment and not a cost of works payment is to be made. Damage caused by looting is not war damage, and the Commission has no power to make any payment in respect of such damage.
Does not my right hon. Friend appreciate that in many cases the War Damage Commission issue a notice that a value payment will be made and, later on, change it to a cost of works payment, and during that period there has been no chance of carrying out repairs of any kind? Will my right hon. Friend, therefore, undertake the responsibility for any deterioration that takes place in that time?
.I think that point is dealt with in another Question put down by my hon. and gallant Friend. However, the position is that, provided the owner of the property does everything he might be reasonably expected to do to protect the property from further deterioration, such deterioration as may occur can be taken into account.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the War Damage Commission will include in cost of works payments the additional cost of making good repairs caused by deterioration or looting of building materials when such additional damage has been caused by delay in the carrying out of repairs or in the issuing of licences to carry out repairs by the Ministry of Works or local authorities to whom the Ministry has delegated its responsibility; and will he state in cases where such delay causes a cost of works to be changed to a value payment what additional compensation can be claimed by the aggrieved person.
Where a cost of works payment is appropriate and war damage is increased by deterioration, the War Damage Commission would not refuse a claim for the cost of making good the additional damage, if satisfied that the owner had taken such steps as were reasonable to prevent deterioration, and due regard would be paid, where the case arose, to any difficulty or delay in obtaining a building licence or other necessary consent. Where deterioration has occurred as a result of causes beyond the owner's control and a value payment is appropriate, the Commission would take the additional damage into account in computing the value payment. As regards looting, I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to my answer to his previous Question.
Might I ask my right hon. Friend, in view of what seems to be a satisfactory answer, whether the War Damage Commission have taken into account the fact that for quite a considerable time past, either because of the absence of licences or because of the lack of building labour, it has been physically impossible for owners to do repairs to their war-damaged properties, and would his answer cover that point?