HC Deb 07 November 1940 vol 365 cc1429-30
40. Lieut.-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore

asked the Home Secretary whether a person whose house has been ruined as a result of enemy action and who sees his furniture amongst the debris, is entitled to do his best to salvage pieces; that much of this furniture when salvaged by a demolition squad remains on the pavement for days and seriously deteriorates; and whether he can look into the whole matter with a view to making better arrangements?

62. Major Sir Jocelyn Lucas

asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been called to the fact that furniture rescued from bombed houses is often left stacked outside for days without any protection from the weather; and what arrangements are being made in such cases, either for storing or removal, in view of the fact that much salvage effort on the part of the air-raid precautions workers is thereby being wasted?

Mr. M. MacDonald

I have been asked to reply. As regards access to damaged houses, I understand from my right hon. Friend the Minister of Home Security that, provided collapse of the structure is not likely to occur, and that attempts at salvage do not hamper the Civil Defence services, a person whose house has been damaged by air raids is at liberty to remove his furniture from the debris, and to take it away. As regards the remaining parts of the Questions, the subsequent disposal of furniture is at present governed in certain respects by the instructions given to local authorities by the Ministry of Home Security. Under these some of the local authorities have made good arrangements for the removal or storage of furniture. Different aspects of the matter affect a number of other Departments, and, as my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary stated in answer to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for North Salford (Mr. J. P. Morris) on 5th November, it is now under urgent consideration by a joint committee of the Departments concerned.

Sir T. Moore

Can a man be charged under the existing law with looting if he tries to remove his furniture from premises?

Mr. MacDonald

I do not see how he could if it was his own furniture. The point of the answer is in the danger to him if the building is unsafe.

Mr. Thorne

Has the Minister come to any decision with regard to houses made uninhabitable?

Mr. MacDonald

That is another question.

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