HC Deb 03 March 1938 vol 332 cc1263-6
23. Dr. Haden Guest

asked the Home Secretary whether he will arrange for statutory rules and orders, circulars, handbooks, and other printed documents issued by his Department in connection with air-raid precautions to be available in the Vote Office for Members of this House?

Mr. Lloyd

A complete set of all documents published by the Stationery Office in connection with air-raid precautions has been placed in the Library of the House for the convenience of Members. Copies of the handbook which is being issued shortly to the air-raid personnel of local authorities will be supplied specially to the Vote Office. Further documents will be added as they are published and Members requiring such publications may obtain them in accordance with the usual practice on application to the Controller of the Stationery Office, through the Vote Office.

Mr. Thorne

Will they be obtainable with the pink form?

Mr. Lloyd

With the green demand.

25. Lieut.-Colonel Sir Mervyn Manningham-Buller

asked the Home Secretary whether, in view of the proved value in Barcelona of underground air-raid shelters, he has considered the feasibility of constructing such shelters under the squares and open spaces in London and elsewhere, and reducing the cost of such shelters by utilising them normally for parking motor cars?

Mr. Lloyd

Under the Act the duty of making arrangements for the provision of such shelters for the protection of the public as may be necessary rests upon the local authorities. Air-raid shelters specially constructed for this purpose would not necessarily be suitable as garages, though underground garages could, in certain circumstances, afford protection in air raids, and in considering any proposals for the construction of underground garages local authorities will doubtless keep in mind the suggestion of my hon. and gallant Friend.

Mr. Herbert Morrison

Can the hon. Gentleman inform the House whether the Home Office have formed any opinion as to the desirability of the construction of shelters for the public?

Mr. Lloyd

My right hon. Friend will be issuing a circular in regard to that as affecting local authorities very shortly.

28. Major Mills

asked the Home Secretary whether he considers the declaration made by special constables under the Special Constables Acts, 1831, 1914, and 1932, is appropriate for members of the observers corps whose duties involve watching for hostile aircraft; and whether he has ascertained, or will ascertain, the views of the chief constables of counties and county boroughs as to the desirability of transferring all responsibility for this corps to the Royal Air Force under whom they come for operational purposes?

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Sir Samuel Hoare)

As was stated in a reply to a similar question given by the Under-Secretary of State for Air on 9th February, experience over a number of years has shown that the status of special constables provides a satisfactory method of meeting the requirements of the Observer Corps. Having regard to the great national importance of the duties of these men, I do not consider that this status, or the declaration which the men are required to make, is inappropriate. I have recently obtained the views of representative chief constables on the matter, and though there was some divergence of opinion, my Noble Friend the Secretary of State for Air and I are satisfied that there is no ground for altering the present arrangements.

Major Mills

Will my right hon. Friend also bear in mind that the vast majority of the members of this corps would much prefer such a transfer?

Sir S. Hoare

My information does not confirm that view.

29. Mr. Price

asked the Home Secretary the number of local authorities who are in process of training air-raid wardens in their duties?

Mr. Lloyd

As the hon. Member is no doubt aware the organisation of services of air-raid wardens is one of the duties put upon local authorities by the Act. While some authorities have made more progress than others, I am informed that generally the organisation of this work is in hand in practically all areas.

Mr. Price

Has the hon. Member any information as to the number of those who are in training as air wardens?

Mr. Lloyd

We shall have more information when the schemes are submitted by the local authorities.

46. Mr. George Griffiths

asked the Home Secretary what preparations the West Riding County Council have made in connection with the burning pit stacks in the event of an air raid?

Mr. Lloyd

I am not aware of any preparations by the West Riding County Council, but as my right hon. Friend stated in answer to a question by the hon. Member for Leigh (Mr. Tinker) last Monday, the problems involved by these burning heaps in time of war are under examination.

Mr. Griffiths

Up to now, has the Home Secretary had no information whether they will decide either to cover or to put out these pit stacks? Is the Under-Secretary aware that there are stacks burning to-day which are as big as this Chamber and that at night they can be seen for 200 miles? An aeroplane in Germany can almost see them. Will the Home Office do something to get them put out?

Mr. Lloyd

It will be for the West Riding County Council, when they submit their scheme, to consider whether any provision ought to be included in it for dealing with this matter. I will ask our regional inspector to be specially ready to assist them with technical information.

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