29. Mr. Jenkins
asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that dissatisfaction exists amongst the local authorities of the country regarding the failure of the Government to indicate that the costs incurred in connection with air-raid precautions will be met from national funds and that the work is being delayed; and what action he proposes to take to remedy that position?
§ 38. Sir J. Mellor
asked the Home Secretary whether he will make a statement as to the apportionment of the cost of air-raid precautions between the Government and local authorities?
§ 41. Mr. R. C. Morrison
asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware of the decision unanimously passed at a conference of representatives of important local authorities held at the County Hall, S.E.I, on 18th March, recommending their authorities to defer incurring further expenditure in respect of air-raid 336 precautions, including the emergency fire brigade organisation, until His Majesty's Government has reached a decision upon the financial issue; and whether he can make a statement?
§ 42. Lieut.-Commander Fletcher
asked the Home Secretary what is the present position concerning the discussions between his Department and various local authorities regarding defrayal of the expenses involved in the organisation of defence against attack from the air?
§ The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd)
The anxiety of local authorities with regard to the incidence of financial responsibility for air-raid precautions is fully appreciated. In order to obtain a complete picture of the probable cost of air-raid precautions for the whole country, it has been necessary to make a careful examination of estimates which have been submitted from various parts of the country, in consultation with the local authorities concerned. This has only recently become possible because, although good progress has been made in the preparation by local authorities of their schemes of general organisation, the detailed financial proposals which were necessary as a basis for the formulation of an over-all estimate of cost had not previously been available. The work has been pressed forward with the greatest energy, and it is intended that an early announcement will he made.
§ Mr. Thorne
Can the hon. Gentleman give the House any indication of when 337 he will be able to make a statement as to whether the Government are going to bear some of the expenditure or not? There is £35,000,000 that has to be paid.
§ Mr. R. C. Morrison
Does the hon. Gentleman appreciate that local authorities are being held up in their efforts because they are waiting to know the Government's decision?
§ Mr. Morrison
But surely the hon. Gentleman appreciates the fact that, having regard to the emergency fire brigade organisation, it is impossible for local authorities to go further than they have already gone until they know the decision of the Government?