HC Deb 13 March 1941 vol 369 cc1408-10
22. Mr. Cocks

asked the Home Secretary whether arrangements can be made to enable fire-watchers under the compulsory scheme to obtain their out-of-pocket expenses and, in particular, their travelling expenses, from the owner or occupier of the premises concerned?

27. Mr. Mander

asked the Home Secretary whether arrangements are being made for suitable meals to be supplied to fire-watchers on duty in the factories where they work; and whether it has been made clear that this is the duty of the employer wherever circumstances render this desirable?

Mr. H. Morrison

These matters, with others arising out of the Fire Prevention (Business Premises) Order, are now being examined in consultation with representatives of the Trades Union Congress and employers' organisations.

Mr. Cocks

Is my right hon. Friend aware that a great deal of dissatisfaction has been caused because some of the fire watchers have to pay their bus fares out of their pocket?

Mr. Morrison

I am aware of that fact. It is one of the points which are the subject of discussion.

Mr. Mander

Will the right hon. Gentleman also bear in mind that this matter is urgent, as arrangements have to be made to supply meals to fire watchers in works canteens? Can he say whether rations will be issued for the purpose?

Mr. Morrison

That is also one of the factors in the discussion. I can assure the hon. Member that I am very conscious of the great urgency of the whole matter.

31. Mr. Simmonds

asked the Home Secretary by what date all Regional Commissioners are to report to him regarding the fire watchers available in their regions?

Mr. Morrison

It was not necessary to fix any particular date, as I am being apprised of the general position by the periodical reports which I receive from Regional Commissioners, supplemented by special reports as occasion demands.

Mr. Simmonds

Would my right hon. Friend assure the House that he will not allow this question to drag on, where there are insufficient voluntary fire watchers, before the compulsory scheme is put into effect?

Mr. Morrison

I do not think that I could be suspected of letting this matter drag on. Indeed, it may be a comfort to my hon. Friend if I remind him that I have been strongly criticised for doing things too quickly.

32. Mr. Wedgwood

asked the Home Secretary whether he will empower local authorities to occupy empty or vacant houses which could suitably be used as rest centres and assembling places for street fire watchers, since such centres would help both the scheme and the volunteers in residential areas?

Mr. Morrison

I am not aware that the fire-prevention scheme has been handicapped by the want of suitable premises for the purpose in view, but I will look into the matter.