HC Deb 13 February 1941 vol 368 cc1508-9
71. Mr. James Hall

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that many members of the Auxiliary Fire Service in Stepney have not yet been supplied with a second issue of uniforms; and, as the wearing of wet clothing is responsible for much illness, will he consider the need for urgent action in this matter?

76. Mr. Martin

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that the vast majority of auxiliaries in the London Fire Service have no second tunic; that the wearing of wet uniforms is causing an exceptionally high sickness rate; what steps it is proposed to take to remedy this deficiency; and by what date the second issue of tunics will be completed?

Mr. Mabane

Uniforms for London Fire Service auxiliaries are provided by the London County Council. I am informed that all whole-time auxiliary firemen have, in addition to their standard uniform, a second pair of trousers and a waterproof coat or overcoat, and that about a third of the whole number have a second tunic. All the tunics required to complete the second issue have been ordered and it is hoped that deliveries will be completed within the next 12 weeks. As regards part-time personnel, a reserve of uniforms is available at fire stations, so that any man may have an additional uniform if required. The position in C District, which includes Stepney, is similar to that in the rest of the London area.

Mr. Martin

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that many of the men have not yet received linings for their mackintoshes? They are quite unable to get them, and are suffering considerably as a consequence.

Mr. Mabane

There are great difficulties in the matter of supplying fleece linings for waterproofs, but every effort is being made.

75. Mr. Martin

asked the Home Secretary what is the establishment of the London Fire Service, and what the actual strength; and whether, so far as there is a gap, it is due to defects in conditions?

Mr. Mabane

I will send my hon. Friend the figures. As he will see, there is a shortage, but, relatively, it is not large, and it is partly accounted for by the present establishment under one of the heads of service being in excess of actual requirements. I cannot find that such shortage as there is is in any way attributable to defects in the conditions of service.