HC Deb 26 May 1938 vol 336 cc1380-3
42. Mr. C. Wilson

asked the Home Secretary whether children at elementary schools will be supplied with one gas-mask for home and another for school, or whether it will be necessary for the mask to be carried from one place to the other; and if so, whether receptacles will be provided?

Mr. Lloyd

All school children will be provided, in emergency, by the Government with respirators which they will carry with them to and from school. Containers will be provided.

43. Mr. Sandys

asked the Home Secretary whether he can make a statement as to the progress of plans for the evacuation of the civil population from areas which might be exposed to continuous air attack?

Sir S. Hoare

Various aspects of the problem of transferring persons from areas which are likely to be exposed to continuous air attack, including the plans said to be in contemplation in other countries, have been examined by the Home Office. With the purpose of bringing the subject under full review, I have invited the right hon. Member for the Scottish Universities (Sir J. Anderson) and the hon. Members for South-West Bethnal Green (Sir P. Harris), Balham (Mr. Doland), and North Islington (Dr. Guest) to serve on a committee which will assist me in the preparation of plans. While this committee will, no doubt, begin its work on the problem of London, it will have in mind the application of its plans to other big centres of population.

Mr. Sandys

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the knowledge that the Home Office are proceeding actively with their plans for evacuation has caused very widespread satisfaction?

Mr. J. Griffiths

Will the right hon. Gentleman consult with those areas to which he is likely to evacuate the population?

Sir S. Hoare

Certainly a question of that kind would come within the scope of the committee's investigation.

Mr. H. G. Williams

Will they also consider whether, as ordinary human beings, people want their families broken up?

Mr. Gallacher

Would it not be desirable that the Home Office should set up similar committees in other big centres which are likely to be attacked, rather than wait until everything has been prepared in London?

Sir S. Hoare

I think it is best to begin with the most difficult part of the problem—the problem of London. If we find a satisfactory solution of the London problem, we shall be able to apply it to other big cities.

44. Mr. R. C. Morrison

asked the Home Secretary whether he has been able to arrange a class of instruction upon air-raid precautions for Members of Parliament?

Mr. Lloyd

My right hon. Friend will be happy to arrange for a course of instructional lectures and is inquiring through the usual channels as to the arrangements that will be most convenient to hon. Members.

52. Mr. Mabane

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that many of those who offer themselves for training as air-raid precautions volunteers are required to undertake considerable outlay of cash quite apart from necessary personal expenses, in order to secure training, and that this outlay is demanded for books, training fees, equipment, and examination fees; and whether, as this is totally contrary to the spirit of the air-raid precautions service, he will take immediate steps to stop. this?

Mr. Lloyd

It is intended that all training should be provided free for persons who are enrolled as members of public air-raid precautions services. Where they have individually incurred expenses, after enrolment, of the kind mentioned, it would be proper for the local authority concerned to repay them. My right hon. Friend is making arrangements which, I hope, will obviate the continuance of any such difficulties with the type of training in which it is most likely to have arisen, namely, training for first-aid services.

Mr. Mabane

Will my hon. Friend take the initiative in suggesting to local authorities that they should make repayment of these sums that have been already paid?

Mr. Lloyd

I think my answer is sufficient.

Mr. Davidson

Will the Under-Secretary bear in mind also, that the burden on local authorities is excessive?

Mr. R. C. Morrison

Will the hon. Gentleman also impress on them that they should not charge for instruction books for these classes?

Mr. Lloyd

We have done that.

53. Mr. Mabane

asked the Home Secretary whether the figures of 400,000 which he gave in his broadcast on 23rd May as the present total of air-raid precautions volunteers is based on returns from local authorities; to what date does the figure refer; and whether he will now state the exact official figure of the numbers of air-raid precautions volunteers who have been enrolled throughout the country?

Mr. Lloyd

The number quoted by my right hon. Friend is an approximate estimate, based on figures collected from a number of representative authorities, of the present position. As the House has been informed, arrangements have been made for returns from local authorities of the full position, and the first of these returns will be available about the middle of next month.

54. Mr. Cartland

asked the Home Secretary what are the additional powers with which it is proposed to invest air-raid wardens by special regulations in time of emergency?

Mr. Lloyd

A.R.P. Memorandum No. 4, issued early last year, on the subject of air-raid wardens, stated that it was proposed to invest them with certain simple powers in time of emergency, but further examination of the position suggests that they will probably be able to carry out their functions without being invested with any special powers.

Mr. Cartland

Does that mean that any suggestion that legislation will be introduced in the event of war breaking out to invest these persons with powers will not be implemented?

55. Mr. Cartland

asked the Home Secretary by what method and under what authority air-raid warden officers are appointed?

Mr. Lloyd

Air-raid wardens and head wardens are appointed by local authorities, as a part of the measures they take in preparing general precaution schemes under the Air Raid Precautions Act, 1937.

Mr. Cartland

Is there, in point of fact, any uniformity? Has my hon. Friend seen the letter in the "Times" this morning?

Mr. Lloyd

Yes, Sir. Certain suggested schemes of organisation were forwarded to local authorities, but the responsibility is theirs. If they wish to adopt a different form of organisation which they think is better suited to their local needs, they can do so.

Mr. Mabane

Have air-raid wardens any security of tenure in their offices?

Mr. Lloyd

They are volunteers under the local authorities.

56. Mr. Cartland

asked the Home Secretary why gas masks for training are not issued to local authorities in sufficient quantities to provide one gas mask for every volunteer who undertakes training?

Mr. Lloyd

Respirators are issued to local authorities in sufficient numbers to enable every qualified instructor to have a respirator for each member of his class.

Mr. Cartland

How many have been issued for this purpose?

Mr. Lloyd

About 350,000.

Mr. Cartland

Can my hon. Friend say what the local authorities have done?

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