HC Deb 15 September 1939 vol 351 cc887-8
3. Mr. Keeling

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has considered further the many anomalies in the rules for free issue of Anderson shelters; and whether he will extend such issue in vulnerable areas as supplies become available?

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Sir John Anderson)

The basis on which the free distribution of these shelters is being made may give rise to anomalies in border-line cases, but it is designed to give a generous interpretation of the expressed policy of the Government, to provide shelter free of cost for persons who cannot reasonably be expected to provide it for themselves. I could not undertake to enlarge the scope of the present scheme of free distribution.

Mr. Rhys Davies

Has the right hon. Gentleman had his attention called to this fact, that one person in a household in receipt of over £250 per annum cannot get a shelter for nothing, whereas with an income to the same house of over 800, provided that the householder's income is less than £250, they have not got to pay for a shelter?

Sir J. Anderson

I know there are anomalies, and I do not see how they can possibly be avoided.

Mr. Keeling

Could my right hon. Friend not consider the suggestion in my Question, that when supplies are available free issues should be made to everybody in the vulnerable areas?

Sir J. Anderson

That will not arise for some time yet.

8. Miss Rathbone

asked the Home Secretary whether instructions have been given to those responsible for the provision of air-raid shelters to include in the equipment of these shelters, especially those having only one exit, several pickaxes, in case the exit is blocked by fallen masonry?

Sir J. Anderson

It is a well established rule that an air-raid shelter should include some emergency means of exit, but local authorities are being encouraged as an additional precaution to provide equipment of the kind suggested, at any rate in the larger shelters.

Miss Rathbone

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this point has been very much stressed by persons of long experience in air-raid provision in Spain, who think that without some means of forcing an exit shelters with only one exit may easily become very dangerous traps?

Sir J. Anderson

I think the hon. Lady will have gathered from my reply that that is fully recognised.

Major Milner

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is quite a number of shelters in London with only one entrance and no other entrance or exit?

Sir J. Anderson

No, I am not aware of that.

Major Milner

I will call the right hon. Gentleman's attention to some cases.