HC Deb 11 March 1940 vol 358 cc824-5
40. Mr. A. Edwards

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that the refusal of the Ministry of Civil Defence to pay grants in respect of air-raid precautions in schools, in accordance with the agreements reached with representatives of local authorities and embodied in the Schedule to the Air-Raid Precautions Act, 1937, is a breach of agreement; and whether he is prepared to take suitable action to implement the undertakings given?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Home Security (Mr. Mabane)

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which my right hon. Friend gave on 29th February last to Questions by the hon. Members for Cheltenham (Mr. Lipson), Stratford (Mr. Groves) and West Leyton (Mr. Sorensen).

Mr. Edwards

Does the Parliamentary Secretary think that to treat these agreements so lightly is a good example in the midst of a war in which we are fighting for the sanctity of contracts and agreements?

Mr. Mabane

I can assure the hon. Member that the arrangements are not being treated lightly and that, as is stated in the answer to which I referred him, there is no breach of faith, as suggested in his Question.

45. Mr. Edwards

asked the Prime Minister whether he will move to appoint a Committee of this House to inquire into and report on the understandings reached and the undertakings given in the negotiations between local authorities and the Home Office; the extent to which those understandings and undertakings have been varied, and by what authority and to what extent; and the justification for such variation?

The Prime Minister

I assume that the hon. Member has in mind the question of the rate of grant in respect of air-raid precautions works for schools. I have nothing to add to the answers I have given to previous Questions on this subject.

Mr. Edwards

Is the Prime Minister aware that there is very considerable feeling among authorities up and down the country, that the Government are not sincere with them, and in view of that will he give an undertaking to pay special attention to the matter?

The Prime Minister

There have been a good many allegations that there has been a breach of faith, but I have not seen a particle of evidence to that effect.

Mr. Edwards

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I shall raise the matter on the Adjournment?