HC Deb 24 July 1941 vol 373 cc1030-1
9. Mr. Burke

asked the President of the Board of Education whether he will authorise education authorities to instal in their schools the Ripplay Control Signalling System of air-raid warnings, seeing that the Minister of Health has approved the adoption by local authorities of this system for business and other premises; and will his department meet the cost of this installation?

The Minister of Education (Mr. Butler)

After examining the hon. Member's proposal, I have come to the conclusion that, unless circumstances are very exceptional, schools are already adequately served by the public air-raid warning system.

Mr. Burke

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in many of the schools, particularly in the outlying districts, it is impossible to hear the warning on account of atmospheric conditions or the wind being in the wrong direction; that in many cases attempts have been made to meet the difficulty, and that this is the only adequate system; that it has been approved by the Regional Commissioners and could be installed at the cost of a few pounds; and that while much money has been spent upon air-raid shelters, they will be useless if the children do not hear the siren? Will the right hon. Gentleman give this matter sympathetic consideration?

Mr. Butler

The hon. Member will realise that I have had very little time since taking up my duties to look into this matter, but my preliminary examination led me to the conclusion of which I have informed the House. I will undertake to make a further inquiry into what the hon. Member has said, but the system is rather expensive and uses rather important equipment.

Mr. Burke

It costs only a few pounds per school and could be installed by using the present electric cables.

Mr. Lipson

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the position of schools in rural areas where there are no sirens?

An Hon. Member

And no bombs.