HC Deb 26 March 1941 vol 370 cc590-1
63. Mr. Simmonds

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether it has been found necessary in any part of the country to apply compulsory powers to obtain an adequate number of unpaid fire-watchers?

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Home Security (Mr. Mabane)

From the reports which my right hon. Friend has received, it is clear that the Compulsory Enrolment Order will need to be applied in certain areas. It obviously would not be in the public interest for me to disclose the number or location of those areas before arrangements have been made.

Mr. Simmonds

Can the hon. Gentleman assure the House that his Department is doing all that is possible to prevent the authorities from falling into the easy way of paying watchers where it is difficult to obtain unpaid voluntary watchers?

Mr. Mabane

The authorities are not in a position to do that.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Is it not the case that in many towns so large a percentage of the people are working overtime on Government work that it is literally impossible to obtain watchers by the voluntary system?

Mr. R. C. Morrison

Will the hon. Gentleman keep in mind that a good deal of the resentment against fire watching in certain districts is because people are not satisfied that the Order is applied to their employers?

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