§ Mr. Ivan Lewis
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when the Government will launch a claim scheme to compensate victims of Nazi persecution who had property in the United Kingdom that was confiscated by Her Majesty's Government during the Second World War under the Trading with the Enemy legislation. 
§ Mr. Byers
I am pleased to announce the launch of the Claim Scheme. It will have the following main features: claims can be made in respect of any property in the UK confiscated by HM Government under British legislation on enemy property or trading with the enemy, if it has not already been returned and compensation has not already been paid intended to cover its full value; the Government will pay compensation on the basis of wartime values increased by the change in the Retail Prices Index; compensation will be paid to victims of Nazi persecution who owned such property when it was confiscated, and 361W other people who can show that they were likely to have been the beneficial owner of such property if it had not been confiscated, if they or the original owner suffered Nazi persecution; claims will be determined by a panel of three assessors comprising a legally qualified Chairman, someone with financial expertise and someone with an understanding of belonging to a minority group.
The right hon. Lord Archer of Sandwell QC who advised the Government about the claims procedure has agreed to chair the panel which will be called the Enemy Property Claims Assessment Panel (EPCAP). It will assess all claims according to criteria set out in its Terms of Reference. A copy of the Constitution and Terms of Reference of the Panel has been placed in the Library of the House. The EPCAP will be supported by a Secretariat comprised of a team of DTI officials.
To assist claimants the Enemy Property Internet website at "www.enemyproperty.gov.uk" has been updated with additional lists of those who had their property seized under the enemy property or trading with the enemy legislation. The website has a copy of the claim form and background information that can be downloaded and printed. It now has a database of over 30,000 names covering property originally belonging to residents of Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Yugoslavia. The database also includes records of people from other countries and those it was not possible to trace.
Claimants will have until 30 September 1999 to submit their claims to the EPCAP Secretariat. Those who have already written to my Department indicating an interest in the Scheme will be sent claim forms by the EPCAP Secretariat. The payment of compensation will not start until after that date because there may be several claims for the same property and entitlement will need to be established. Claim forms can be obtained from the EPCAP Secretariat at the address below:
- Enemy Property Claims Assessment Panel
- Room 116–118
- 10 Victoria Street
- SW1 0NN
- Telephone: 0171 215 3485
- Fax: 0171–215 3487
- Email: email@example.com