§ 44. Mr. Ede
asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he is aware that the Surbiton Borough Council are compelling their employés to do air-raid precautions work in their spare time without pay; whether this action has been taken with his knowledge and approval; and whether he will represent to the local authorities that the success of this work must largely depend upon willing volunteers.
§ The Lord Privy Seal (Sir John Anderson)
My Department had no previous knowledge of the matter which appears to have given rise to the hon. Member's Question, but I have now seen a copy of a circular issued by the Surbiton Borough Council to their employeės which may possibly be open to misconstruction in failing to make sufficiently clear a distinction that must be drawn between employés in whom knowledge of Civil Defence matters is essential for the efficient discharge of the duties for which they are paid and other employés who have no obligations other than those that 2831 they may assume voluntarily. I am making further inquiries.
§ Sir J. Anderson
As the House knows, the Government rely entirely on the voluntary principle in the recruiting and training of civil personnel, and on my present information I have no evidence that this Council has made any attempt at an inroad into that principle. I am not sure at the moment of the actual facts, and in the circumstances I do not want to commit myself to a more definite statement. If I come to the conclusion, after getting further information, that something has gone wrong, I will certainly do my best to put it right.