§ 63. Mr. Doland
asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that under present enactments and regulations no person, except those receiving Government free shelters, is allowed to construct an air-raid shelter in his garden or elsewhere without first submitting plans to the district surveyor obtaining his approval thereto and paying certain fees; that the district surveyor covering part of the Wandsworth Borough is now inspecting shelters in the gardens of residents and leaving them notices as to their liabilities under the Local Government Act; and will he take steps to prevent these shelters being rated?
§ Mr. Bernays
The administration by local authorities of the enactments relating to the control of buildings is not a matter in regard to which my right hon. Friend has any authority to intervene. As my hon. Friend is doubtless aware, the Civil Defence Bill contains provisions applicable to this matter, but I have no reason to think that local authorities are not exercising their powers and discharging their duties under existing enactments in a proper manner. The question of assessment for rating purposes is governed by the Rating and Valuation (Air-Raid Works) Act, 1938.
§ Mr. Doland
Does not the Civil Defence Bill relate to factories and commercial buildings only and not to private shelters in gardens?
§ Mr. Selley
Is my hon. Friend aware that district surveyors are administering an Act of Parliament and not local bylaws, and are anxious to have their position made clear? Will he look into the matter from that point of view?
§ Mr. Bernays
Yes, Sir. The position of these surveyors is that they are undertaking a statutory duty.
§ Mr. R. C. Morrison
Is it not a fact that certain districts in Great London are already rated for buildings that are used exclusively for A.R.P.?