HC Deb 01 November 1937 vol 328 cc544-5
58. Mr. Rostron Duckworth

asked the Attorney-General whether, in view of the potential damage which might be done by aerial attacks, he will consider the advisability of constructing underground vaults for the safekeeping of documents of title at the Land Registry?

The Attorney-General (Sir Donald Somervell)

The original documents on which entries in the Register are founded are at present stored in fireproof cellars two floors below the surface of the ground. The existence of these cellars seem to meet the possible dangers about which my hon. Friend is anxious.

79. Mr. Joel

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury what steps have been taken to make arrangements for air-raid precautions in Government offices since the issue of the handbook by the Air Raid Precautions Department last year indicating the nature of the steps which should be taken in this connection in factories and business premises; and whether he can now give an assurance that adequate precaution arrangements are being made in all Government offices situated in the London area?

Lieut.-Colonel Colville

Government Departments are training their personnel in anti-gas precautions on the lines recommended by the Air Raids Precautions Department for factories and business premises. All the larger Departments have had one or more officers trained at the Civilian Anti-Gas School, and these officers are now giving instruction in anti-gas training to all staff who wish to receive such instruction. The course of instruction varies from four hours for the general body of staff to 20 hours for the staff to be employed on certain specific air raid duties. All staff will also be given an opportunity of passing through a gas chamber during their training, if they so desire. First aid parties and decontamination squads are also being trained in anti-gas on the scale recommended by the Air Raids Precautions Department for large business and other premises, and training in first aid is also being given to members of these parties whose knowledge is not already adequate. The training of the staff of smaller Departments and staff in the provinces is being taken in hand as soon as more qualified instructors become available. As regards structural precautions, the question how far it might be possible to apply protective measures to existing buildings generally is under review by an Expert Committee of the Air Raids Precautions Department, and there is also in progress a structural survey of Government buildings from the point of view of safety against an attack.