§ 4. Mr. Hamilton Kerr
asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that able-bodied unemployed on the register are refusing offers of well-paid posts for fire watching; and what action he is taking in the matter?
§ The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Herbert Morrison)
My attention has been drawn to some cases where fire watchers have been engaged at high rates of wages, but I should prefer to see the effect of the recent Orders concerning fire prevention before considering whether any further action could with advantage be taken.
§ Mr. Morrison
I have considerable sympathy with the point of view of my hon. Friend, and he may be sure that I will keep the point in mind in consultation with the Departments concerned.
§ Sir W. Davison
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in my experience in the City of London men who were engaged at wages of £3 or £4 a week have given notice, with the result that buildings are left unprotected unless these high wages are paid?
§ 38. Mr. Vernon Bartlett
asked the Home Secretary whether, in order to assure that the burden is shared by all members of the community, he will at once use compulsory powers to enlist an adequate supply of fire watchers in areas where there is an insufficient number of volunteers?
§ Mr. Morrison
Two separate Orders concerning lire-prevention duties have been made. The Business Premises Order imposes compulsory obligations on the occupiers of business premises to make adequate fire-prevention arrangements for their premises. It also imposes an obligation which can be enforced on all male British subjects of the prescribed age who work at the premises to take turns of duty there, unless satisfactory voluntary or other suitable arrangements have been made. The Compulsory Enrolment Order 266 will be put into operation where under Regulation 27B a local authority is directed to make fire-prevention arrangements in its area, elsewhere than at business premises, and the number of volunteers for that purpose is insufficient.