War Damage Claims

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Commerce – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3rd November 1949.

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Photo of Mr Francis Noel-Baker Mr Francis Noel-Baker , Brentford and Chiswick 12:00 am, 3rd November 1949

asked the President of the Board of Trade what sums have been paid to Mr. R. Sullivan, of 48, Endymion Road, S.W.2, in respect of war damage caused by a flying bomb on 16th June, 1944, to the motor yacht "Halcyon" at Cubitts Yacht Basin, W.4; and whether these sums were intended to cover the loss of the vessel itself.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Ormskirk

Mr. Sullivan has been paid £110 4s. 8d. in respect of the damage in question, including the loss of the yacht. Mr. Sullivan had not taken out any policy of insurance under the Private Chattels Scheme and consequently was only entitled to compensation under free cover.

Photo of Mr Francis Noel-Baker Mr Francis Noel-Baker , Brentford and Chiswick

In view of the fact that this yacht was destroyed by a flying bomb a short time after Mr. Sullivan had taken up residence there, and that then he fell ill for nine months after the accident, could not my right hon. Friend have a look at it again, because the amount he has quoted is about one-third of the actual sum that Mr. Sullivan paid for the vessel?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Ormskirk

That was the limit payable to him under the free coverage scheme, and as he was not covered under the Private Chattels Scheme we could not have gone further. In fact, I ought to inform my hon. Friend that, although Mr. Sullivan was given householder's compensation, there was some doubt whether the tenancy of the yacht counted as a household.

Photo of Sir Edward Keeling Sir Edward Keeling , Twickenham

asked the President of the Board of Trade what sum has been paid on claims for war damage to goods insured under the business scheme, in accordance with Part II of the War Damage Act, 1943; and of what sum has payment been deferred.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Ormskirk

The total amount paid to date under the business scheme, is approximately £48 million, including £2 million representing accrued interest; payment has been deferred for an amount of approximately £46 million, not including accrued interest, which to date amounts to about £10 million.

Photo of Sir Edward Keeling Sir Edward Keeling , Twickenham

Is the President aware that the delay in paying something like half the claims is making the public dubious—or rather not dubious—about the benefits to be obtained from nationalising other forms of insurance?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Ormskirk

I do not think that question arises in any sense at all.

Photo of Sir Walter Fletcher Sir Walter Fletcher , Bury

Can the right hon. Gentleman say how that payment compares with the minimum payments that have been paid overseas in many cases to the same claimants?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Ormskirk

That is another question, and if the hon. Gentleman will put it down, I will consider it.