HC Deb 14 December 1939 vol 355 cc1241-2
30. Sir George Mitcheson

asked the Home Secretary the present total monthly cost of air-raid precautions; and what proportion of this will be paid out of local rates?

Sir J. Anderson

The figure for personnel is approximately £3,250,000, practically the whole of which will be borne by the Exchequer. Other items of expenditure, for exampe, on shelter or equipment, cannot be stated in terms of monthly cost and until the returns for which I have called for the period ending 31st December have been received and analysed I shall not be in a position to give an aggregate figure or to say how much of the expenditure will fall on central and local funds respectively.

Sir Waldron Smithers

Will my right hon. Friend take some steps to see that apparently redundant A.R.P. services are combed out and a great deal of expenditure saved in consequence?

Sir J. Anderson

I have explained to the House on several occasions that a close review of all establishments in all parts of the country has been in progress for many weeks, and where reductions are found to be possible they are being made.

Mr. Thorne

When the right hon. Gentleman receives a report from the borough treasurer of a particular borough about the amount of money expended on this work, is there any delay in sending a cheque for the amount?

Sir J. Anderson

There is no delay, subject to the necessary examination of the returns that are submitted.

43. Mr. Simmonds

asked the Home Secretary whether he can make a statement regarding his negotiations with the local authorities or their associations concerning their financial liabilities in connection with Civil Defence, seeing it is now ascertained that in very many cases a rate of 1d. in the £is being exceeded?

Sir J. Anderson

I am awaiting replies to communications on this matter which I addressed to the representatives of local authorities in the autumn. I expect to receive these replies at an early date.

Mr. Simmonds

Is my right hon. Friend aware that suggestions have been made in certain localities that the Government is employing delaying tactics and is unwilling to face the issue, and in the light of that reply will he tell the House whether this is wholly untrue?

Sir J. Anderson

There is absolutely no foundation for any such suggestion, and I am sure that it would not be put forward in any responsible quarter.