HC Deb 11 May 1939 vol 347 cc673-4
32. Mr. Henry Brooke

asked the Minister of Health whether he will take early steps to secure adequate publicity for the Government's wishes in the matter of elderly persons and invalids who, acting on instructions in the air-raid precautions handbook on "The Protection of Your Home against Air Raids," may have made personal arrangements for evacuation in case of emergency; and are now, in some cases, uncertain whether it is their duty to preserve these arrangements or to modify or cancel them in the interests of the priority classes of evacuees?

Mr. Elliot

Yes, Sir. An opportunity for a full statement of the Government's wishes in regard to evacuation will arise when Part VIII of the Civil Defence Bill is considered in Committee. It is already generally known that the Government's plans for evacuation provide for certain priority classes. The allocations under these plans which have been made to local authorities have made allowance for private arrangements which have already been made. I hope that there will be no necessity to interfere with such arrangements made by elderly persons and invalids.

Mr. Brooke

Arising out of the answer, for which many people will be grateful, does my right hon. Friend anticipate being able to give some guidance as to the case of invalids other than blind persons in the priority class who, for some reason, are not at present able to make personal arrangements for evacuation?

Mr. Elliot

I hope to be able to give general guidance.

Mr. R. C. Morrison

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind when making this statement that local authorities are installing thousands of garden shelters in houses occupied by old age pensioners, and that if these pensioners are to be evacuated and their cottages left empty it will cause unnecessary expense?

Mr. Elliot

No one will try to evacuate these persons against their will.