HC Deb 03 October 1939 vol 351 cc1822-3
82. Sir H. Williams

asked the Home Secretary whether he can make a statement as to the progress made under the Civil Defence Act in connection with blocks of flats, commercial buildings and factories, respectively?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Home Security (Mr. Lennox-Boyd)

Substantial progress has been made with this work; but the period of three months within which the Civil Defence Act requires reports to be made by the occupiers of factories and the owners of commercial buildings on the shelter provision which they are providing or propose to provide does not elapse until 14th November next, and until these reports have been received and digested detailed information will not be available. Reports are not required to be made under the Civil Defence Act in the case of privately-owned blocks of flats.

Mr. Herbert Morrison

Is the Minister aware that in a very large proportion of cases nothing whatever is being done in respect of privately-owned flats, and that nothing, apparently, has been fixed up; and can the right hon. Gentleman communicate with the owners of such flats?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

As the right hon. Gentleman knows, there is an enabling Section in the Civil Defence Act for tenants of privately-owned flats to demand some provision from the owner of the flats.

Miss Wilkinson

And as the hon. Gentleman knows, it is perfectly useless.

83. Sir Irving Albery

asked the Home Secretary whether he has now received information showing what number of Anderson steel shelters have been refused by those entitled to receive them free; and what action he proposes to take with regard to these shelters?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Before the outbreak of war, the number of eligible householders who refused to be listed as willing to receive shelters was considerable, and there was an additional smaller number who, having allowed themselves to be listed for shelters, refused them when they were delivered. Since the outbreak of war the number of refusals has been negligible, and, of those who refused shelters earlier, large numbers are now pressing their local authorities to supply them. The issue which my hon. Friend had in mind, therefore, no longer arises.

Sir I. Albery

Can my hon. Friend say whether it will now be possible to supply the larger type of shelters?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I am afraid I could not give an assurance of that kind.

87. Mr. Salt

asked the Home Secretary whether he will instruct local authorities to allocate a proportion of air-raid shelters to householders whose income is above £250 per annum who are prepared to pay for them; and to state immediately what percentage he will permit to be sold to such applicants, in view of the fact that men whose income is only slightly greater than that which secures free shelters are equally in need of them?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

With regard to the first part of the question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply which my right hon. Friend gave to a question by the hon. Member for Lewisham, West, on 26th September. As regards the second part, it would not be practicable to lay down a fixed percentage of the supplies made to local authorities in the vulnerable areas which would be available for purchase, having regard to the varying circumstances and varying demands for shelters in different areas.

Mr. Salt

Cannot the Minister allocate at least a certain proportion to these people, and provide some shelter for people who may be over the income limit but whose need is quite as great as the need of others?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

If my hon: Friend will read my answer and the previous answer he will find partial satisfaction in them.