HC Deb 08 February 1940 vol 357 cc391-2
36. Mr. David Adams

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that Newcastle-upon-Tyne Corporation has canvassed over 8,000 property-owners in the city requesting permission to erect Anderson or other shelters upon their property for the protection of their tenants, and that consents to 2,000 only have been obtained; and, in view of the absence of statutory authority to compel owners to give consent, what steps he proposes in the matter?

Sir J. Anderson

I am informed that, in the premises in question, structural alterations are necessary if any of the standard types of domestic shelter is to be provided. The consent of the owners of the property to such alterations is required, and it is the fact that in a great many of those cases the property owners have not yet given any indication of their views. I understand that the corporation are contemplating further efforts to secure agreement, and I should prefer to say nothing more until I have information as to the measure of success that attends these further efforts.

Mr. Adams

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the corporation have used extreme pressure with these owners who still decline to give consent, and that some other force ought to be exercised in the matter?

Sir J. Anderson

Consent has been given in quite a large number of cases, something like 2,000. In all but a very few of the other cases it is not, I understand, the fact that consent has been refused but that the local authority have not succeeded in eliciting replies from the owners concerned.

Mr. Herbert Morrison

In view of this unsatisfactory position in Newcastle does the right hon. Gentleman not think that his policy as to shelters has perhaps been incomplete and patchy, if it leaves big gaps of this kind?

Sir J. Anderson

No. I quite recognise that other methods are possible and may have to be taken, but I think the present methods should be exhausted first. I am confirmed in that view by the fact that in some 2,000 cases consent has been obtained.

Mr. H. Morrison

As the country has now been five months at war, will the right hon. Gentleman say what Newcastle is to do if air-raids come?

Sir J. Anderson

This affects only a small part of the city.