§ Sir J. Anderson
I beg to move, in page 10, line 40, to leave out from "code" to the end of line 41, and to insert:prescribing requirements with which the shelter must comply, and giving advice as to incidental matters and as to methods to be followed in providing the shelter.I explained in Committee that in the course of the preparation of the code it was found to be assuming a form different from that which was contemplated when the Bill was first drafted. I explained why it had been found necessary to focus attention in the code on the standards of protection rather than the 1189 types of shelter. The Amendment now proposed follows Amendments that were accepted in Committee yesterday in view of that change in the form of the code.
§ Question, ''That the words proposed to be left out, stand part of the Bill,"put, and negatived.
§ Question proposed, "That the proposed words be there inserted."
§ 7.10 p.m.
I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, in line 3, at the end, to insert:and such code shall not exclude the provision of a deep or heavily protected shelter.This applies to factory premises, factories, mines, and commercial buildings, and although the general discussion covered this yesterday, the specific point, with regard especially to factories and the other classes of premises mentioned here, is not quite covered. For such premises, for instance, as the Port of London authority or of any other large port, there is a special reason for having the power to construct, or rather not to disallow the construction of, a deep or heavily protected shelter at a point which it may be be vitally important in the national interest that work should be maintained, and which is likely to attract a particularly violent air attack. At such centres as munition works, aeroplane engine works, a port, or other works where it is essential that work should be not only maintained but, in so far as is humanly possible, continuously maintained, you must have what amounts really to military fortification, and not splinter and blast-proof accommodation. It is for the purpose of assuring that the possibility of such construction would not be excluded that I move the Amendment.
§ 7.13 p.m.
§ Sir J. Anderson
I hope this Amendment will not be pressed, because I submit it is quite unnecessary. I explained yesterday that the standard of shelter prescribed by the code is a minimum, that is, a standard to which the shelter provided may attain, but which it may exceed, and it must be quite clear from the wording of the main provision in the Bill with regard to the standard of shelter to be provided that that is so. The same point arises in connection with the 1190 Clause which provides for the payment of grants, and I have made it clear more than once—and it is indeed clear. in the relevant Clause— that grants may be paid in respect of shelter provided at the factory or in a commercial building which goes beyond the minimum standard prescribed in the code, if approval is obtained beforehand to the provision of such shelter. It follows from that that such an Amendment as this is quite unnecessary. Apart from that, I am advised that these words would not fit into the wording that has been adopted in the Clause in question and in subsequent Clauses of the Bill.
Does that mean in effect that in the case of an application for an institution of vital national importance where an air-raid shelter provided was of a kind that could be described as heavily protected or a deep shelter, the right hon. Gentleman would withhold his consent?
§ Sir J. Anderson
What I mean is that the Bill clearly provides for the consideration of such a case and for the Minister giving consent in suitable circumstances. In that case grant will be paid, not in respect of the cost of providing shelter of the minimum standard, but in respect of the cost of providing shelter of the higher standard.
§ 7.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Sandys
May I try to elicit a further assurance from my right hon. Friend on this matter? I think the House is in sympathy with the intention of the hon. Member in moving this Amendment, but I agree with the Lord Privy Seal that it is not necessary to the Bill and would not strengthen it since, even with the hon. Member's Amendment, the ultimate decision would still rest with the Lord privy Seal. The Government's intentions in this matter have, I think, been made clear. In general, a splinter or blast-proof shelter will be regarded as sufficient. I think the Government have also made it clear that they recognise that in certain exceptional cases, where the danger is more than the average, where the work carried on is of such great national importance that it must be carried on inspite of the danger, and where evacuation from the area would be contrary to the national interest, it will be necessary to construct a shelter of a stronger character than that which is necessary in other 1191 parts of the country. My right hon. Friend, in his reply to the hon. Member, said that in those special cases a grant would be given in excess of the grant to be given in the less vulnerable areas. What I wish to know is whether he will make the standard of the code higher for those factories and areas. As matters stand, if the owner of a factory comes to my right hon. Friend and says he wishes to provide stronger protection and a deeper shelter in view of the exceptional danger of the factory's position, I understand my right hon. Friend will be prepared to consider giving that additional grant. Will he himself insist that this stronger form of protection will be provided, under a special code, in these special cases?
§ 7.19 p.m.
§ Sir J. Anderson
The code under the Act will provide as the minimum standard to be obtained a standard of splinter and blast-proof protection. That will be laid down as a minimum standard, and provision will be made whereby, in suitable cases, application can be made for approval of the provision of shelter of a higher standard, and on approval being given that shelter of a higher standard will attract the normal rate of grant. The higher standard of shelter is not being laid down in the code. The code is not to be framed on that basis, but I am taking steps to issue and make widely available not only the handbook to which I referred yesterday which I think will be published to-morrow—A.R.P. Handbook No. 5— which is intended to bring together all the information available in regard to the problem of protection, but also standard designs and these will include designs for heavily protected shelters, so that the information which will not be contained in the code itself in regard to the alternative designs for shelter, will be available to those concerned.
§ 7.21 p.m.
§ Mr. Sandys
I am sorry to pursue this matter further, but may I ask my right hon. Friend what he proposes to do in the case of a factory which in his opinion, owing to the exceptional vulnerability of its situation, ought to be provided with a stronger shelter? I would like him to assure us that he will not give a grant to such a factory unless it provides adequate 1192 shelter and that he will insist on the provision of adequate shelter of a stronger character if in his opinion it is necessary.
§ Sir J. Anderson
The Bill does not contain any provision by which an owner or occupier of a factory can be compelled to provide a shelter beyond the standard of the code. That has been made clear from the outset. The special cases in which it may be considered that a higher standard of shelter should be provided, will be dealt with by way of administration and by negotiation between the Government and the factory owners or occupiers concerned.
In view of the right hon. Gentleman's assurance, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment to the Amendment.
§ Amendment to the proposed Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Proposed words there inserted in the Bill.
§ Further Amendment made: In page 11, line 6, leave out "Part of this."—[Mr. W. S. Morrison.']