HC Deb 29 May 1940 vol 361 cc532-3
27. Mr. Parker

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether he will approach the Canadian and other Dominion Governments to see whether children and others willing to go can be evacuated to a place of safety in the Dominions?

The Under-Secretary of State for the Dominions (Mr. Shakespeare)

The evacuation scheme now in operation in this country provides for the movement of school children accompanied by their teachers to safer areas in this country. Apart from the practical difficulties involved, a proposal to move individual children outside the country would introduce entirely different considerations and, as at present advised, my Noble Friend would not feel justified in making an approach to Dominion Governments on the lines suggested.

Mr. Parker

Will the hon. Gentleman bear this point in mind if a situation arises in which there is great danger in a large part of the country?

Mr. Crowder

Will my hon. Friend consider approaching the Dominion Governments with a view to their taking some of the aliens in this country, because we are getting very overcrowded?

Rear-Admiral Beamish

Will my hon. Friend bear in mind that the test of a nation is the capacity of the civil population to put up with hardship and peril?

28. Mr. Parker

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that many buildings earmarked for use as hostels by evacuated children who cannot be billeted in homes are in bad condition; that many local exacuation committees have been informed that such buildings, even if empty, may not be entered and repaired until evacuation has been ordered; and whether he will authorise authorities to proceed immediately with the necessary repairs?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Miss Horsbrugh)

In view of recent developments my right hon. Friend sent local authorities some days ago a circular, of which I am sending the hon. Member a copy, authorising them to incur necessary and reasonable expenditure on acquiring and equipping emergency hostels.