25 OCTOBER 1940, Page 13

COMPENSATION FOR HOUSE-OWNERS SIR, —Anxiety about the destruction of the homes

in which so many small people have invested all their savings is a threat to national morale which must not be underrated. It may be unreasonable to expect the Government in the present circumstances to commit itself to a definite scheme of compensation. But there is no reason why a somewhat more definite statement should not be immediately forth- coming to reassure people. An assurance that after the war those whose houses happen to have been destroyed shall not be worse off than those whose houses have been preserved would go far to allay apprehension. Since no precaution can be taken against the risk of

destruction, such an arrangement would clearly be just. A statement like that suggested would imply the acceptance of the general principle of insurance without committing the Government to a particular scheme. It would still leave it open to the Government to pay full compensation out of general funds if that proves practicable; if not, it would mean that the burden would at least be borne equally by all house-owners. If (to assume an extreme case) in the course of the war one-fourth of all the houses in the country were destroyed, it would mean that every individual house-owner would have lost one-fourth• of the value of his house—instead of one-fourth of the house-owners having lost all and the remainder nothing. There seems to be no reason why such a statement could not be made immediately—and its

effect would be considerable.—Yours, Ere., F. A. HAYEK. 8 Turner Close, London, N.W.I I.