HC Deb 29 June 1939 vol 349 cc606-9
35. Mr. Leonard

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether, in view of the advice he has received that tenement houses in Glasgow offer protection to citzens during air-raids if suitably strengthened, he can state what proposals have been made to strengthen them?

The Lord Privy Seal (Sir John Anderson)

I am advised that, where the conditions are not suitable for the provision out-of-doors of shelters of the standard brick or concrete types, the strutting of closes offers the most satisfactory solution. My technical advisers are always ready to help with practical suggestions, and one of my principal technical officers is in Glasgow this week for the express purpose of conferring on this subject with the authorities.

Mr. Leonard

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that the shelters are entirely inadequate to accommodate the population of the tenements which they are intended to serve; and will he take into consideration that those tenements are closely congested and require special attention directed to them?

Sir J. Anderson

I shall be in a better position to judge when I have the report of my technical office.

37. Mr. W. H. Green

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he has considered the position of many sub-tenants desiring air raid shelters residing in houses where the householder refuses to have such shelters; and what he proposes to do to meet such circumstances?

Sir J. Anderson

I hope that, with the growing realisation of the importance of providing air-raid shelter in the vulnerable areas, there will not be many cases of the kind contemplated in the question, in which people living in the same building are unable to reach a reasonable accommodation with one another in this matter. But, as I indicated in the course of the Debate on the Report stage of the Civil Defence Bill, cases where agreement cannot be reached will, in the last resort, have to be met by the provision of public shelter, in regard to which the local authorities already have adequate powers.

Mr. Green

Do I understand the Minister to say that if an owner refused a shelter to a sub-tenant the sub-tenant cannot have one, and that the local authority have no power?

Sir J. Anderson

I have said that the local authorities have adequate power to deal with the matter by way of the provision of public shelters.

38. Colonel Gretton

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether occupiers of factories and owners of commercial buildings in non-vulnerable areas are required by the provisions of the Civil Defence Bill to provide air-raid shelter for the persons employed in their premises and, if so, will he state what are the legal obligations resting on such occupiers and owners; and whether the provisions of the Bill in regard to training workpeople in any premises where more than 30 persons are employed and the provisions dealing with the obscuration of light in factories apply to employers in non-vulnerable areas?

Sir J. Anderson

In areas to which Part III of the Civil Defence Bill is not applied, the occupiers of factory premises and mines, and the owners of commercial buildings, will be under no statutory obligation to provide air-raid shelter, unless the provisions of Part III are specifically applied to their premises by a special order made under the proviso to Clause 12 of the Bill. But all persons employing more than 30 persons in any factory premises, mine or commercial building will be required, wherever the premises are situated, to provide training in air raid precautions routine and to train and equip a suitable proportion of the employés for first-aid, anti-gas and fire-fighting. The provisions of Clause 42 of the Bill, which deal with the obscuration of light, will also apply to all factory premises, as defined in the Bill, throughout the country.

Colonel Gretton

May I take it that my right hon. Friend's answer refers entirely to statutory obligations, and that employers and others are not relieved of any moral obligation that there may be to provide suitable shelter for their people?

Sir J. Anderson

Yes, that is the case.

Mr. C. S. Taylor

If a factory is closed down, or if an assurance is given that it will be closed down, in war-time, will it be necessary to provide for the obscuration of light in such a factory?

Sir J. Anderson

That matter was dealt with in the course of the discussion on the Bill, when I made it clear that, in enforcing the obligations imposed by the Bill, it is necessary to proceed on a basis of fact, and not on the basis of what someone thinks might happen in the event of war.

50. Mr. Sutcliffe

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education what is the policy of his Department in regard to air-raid shelters for grant-aided schools; in what way this policy differs in respect of schools in evacuation areas, neutral areas, and reception areas, respectively; and what financial assistance has been given where air-raid shelters are being provided for such schools?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Mr. Bernays)

I have been asked to reply. The policy of the Government in regard to air-raid shelters in schools is fully set out in the Board's Circular 1467, of which I am sending my hon. Friend a copy. In areas which are to be evacuated, all schools will be closed for the whole period during which the children remain evacuated, and no air-raid protection at those schools will be required. In neutral areas, and generally speaking in the more populous urban parts of reception areas, protection, which will normally take the form of trenches, is expected to be provided by the local education authority for the children in the schools. Schools in the rural parts of reception areas will not, as a rule, need any special shelter protection. Approved expenditure by local education authorities on protective measures for school children ranks for grant from the Board at the rate of 50 per cent.

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