HC Deb 30 November 1939 vol 355 cc225-6
21. Mr. R. C. Morrison

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that many local authorities, acting upon the instructions of his Department, are preparing to spend large sums of money in constructing new permanent buildings for use as war-time mortuaries; and, in view of the need for economy, will he reconsider this instruction?

Mr. Elliot

It is the statutory duty of local authorities to provide mortuary accommodation for war emergencies. Normally, this provision is made by the use of existing buildings, but suitable buildings are lacking in one or two areas. I am looking into the question of the accommodation at Tottenham in the light of the further information which the hon. Member was good enough to give me yesterday.

Mr. Morrison

Will the right hon. Gentleman ask the local authorities whether they can suggest that other arrangements should be made in view of the fact that the war has not taken the course that everybody expected; and does he not think that the thousands of pounds which some of the authorities are spending could be spent in a more useful way?

Mr. Elliot

In view of the reasons for which the hon. Member made representations to me yesterday, I am looking into the matter. I understand that at present it is intended that the buildings should be used for other purposes, and, as I say, I am going into the matter, and will communicate with the hon. Gentleman.

Sir Francis Fremantle

Will my right hon. Friend do everything to encourage the practice of cremation, which is obviously the reform that is nowadays often required?