HC Deb 16 October 1941 vol 374 cc1485-6
43. Sir R. Young

asked the Minister of Health whether he can give the number of evacuees billeted in the Windlesham and Sunningdale, Surrey, area; whether he is aware that there is much complaint that, while village houses are overcrowded, a number of large houses, occupied by one or two people, some of whom have never taken in an evacuee, and have houses in other parts of the country, have not been used; and will he instruct his officials to make inquiries regarding this matter in that part of the county?

Mr. E. Brown

Separate figures are not available for Windlesham and Sunningdale;. These two parishes are included in the rural districts of Bagshot and Windsor respectively, and the number of evacuated persons billeted there at present are estimated at approximately: Bagshot rural district, 1,000; Windsor rural district, 1,200. If my hon. Friend will supply me with particulars of the large houses to which he refers, I will cause immediate inquiries to be made.

Sir R. Young

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a clergyman of advancing age was prosecuted at Camberley for not taking in evacuees while people with large houses in that town had none, and will he see that the same consideration is shown to working people who plead they need an empty room for visiting members of their families, without servants, as is shown to rich people with such excuses in those areas?

Mr. Brown

I am most anxious to remedy complaints of that kind, but, as my hon. Friend will realise, large empty houses may sometimes be reserved for Service purposes. If, however, he has any particular case in mind, I should be glad to look into it. I have inquired into this matter in every region in the Kingdom, and in certain regions I am taking action by appointing a special inspector from London, with power to billet where necessary.

Sir R. Young

Do not the published statements by responsible people in the Press show that the complaints made are amply justified?

Mr. Brown

I shall make inquiries through my officials, and also through the local authorities and the Women's Voluntary Services, which, as my hon. Friend knows, have done most of the work of liaison.

Sir Annesley Somerville

Is not this the first time this allegation has been made in regard to this district? Arc not the arrangements generally extremely satisfactory for the evacuees, and have not these great houses been taken advantage of to the fullest extent?

Mr. Brown

Sometimes houses are vacant for urgent reasons of national interest, but in any case, no matter how good the arrangements have been—and I agree with my hon. Friend that these areas have done a great deal for the comfort of evacuees—if there are large houses which can be used, they ought to be used.

54. General Sir George Jeffreys

asked the Minister of Health whether he proposes to raise the payment to householders who cannot afford to maintain evacuees on the allowance provided by the Government; and whether, equally, he will consider payment to those householders who have to act as foster-mothers and nursemaids to evacuee children placed with them?

Mr. Brown

I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to my hon. Friend the Member for Bournemouth (Sir L. Lyle) on 15th October.