HC Deb 03 July 1940 vol 362 cc823-5
26. Mr. Ralph Etherton

asked the Secretary of State for War what new arrangements have been made effective since Wednesday last with regard to the comfort of troops at London and provincial railway termini?

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for War (Sir Edward Grigg)

I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer given yesterday to my hon. Friends the Members for Gateshead (Mr. Magnay) and English Universities (Mr. E. Harvey). I can now add that proposals for bringing the canteen and rest room facilities at Liverpool Street and Paddington Stations up to the required standard have been prepared. My right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport informs me that the two railway companies concerned have willingly agreed that the required additional accommodation shall be made immediately available. Certain necessary structural alterations are being put in hand forthwith.

Mr. Etherton

Will my hon. and gallant Friend see that special attention is given to the London Midland and Scottish Railway's main station at Manchester—London Road—in regard to the continued refusal of the L.M.S. to allow voluntary services to take food for the troops on to the station?

Sir E. Grigg

I cannot accept that version of the facts, but I will certainly look into the matter.

Sir T. Moore

Are the War Office or the railway companies responsible for providing these services?

Sir E. Grigg

The welfare of the troops is a War Office responsibility.

Mr. Cocks

If there is plenty of room in the termini hotels, why could not provision be made there?

27. Mr. De la Bère

asked the Secretary of State for War whether, in connection with facilities for troops at London railway termini, he will consider the desirability of placing all arrangements at the different railway termini for the proper reception of troops under the respective general officer commanding-in-chief, particular attention being paid to the London district?

Sir E. Grigg

The general arrangements for the welfare of troops at railway stations now being made with the railway companies must necessarily be dealt with centrally by the War Office, in consultation with the Ministry of Transport, but this in no way impairs the responsibility of general officers commanding-in-chief for ensuring the welfare of troops in their commands, in accordance with approved policy.

Mr. De la Bére

Is my hon. and gallant Friend aware that it would not be just entirely to blame the rail way companies for the inadequate accommodation? Is not this matter one entirely for the War Office? Cannot we get rid of this nightmare of laissez faire? Can we not put one man in charge and get the whole matter dealt with at once?

Sir E. Grigg

I have just replied that the welfare of the troops is a War Office responsibility.

Mr. De la Bère

Take immediate action, then. There is no sign of it.

Sir E. Grigg

We have taken immediate action.