HC Deb 03 December 1942 vol 385 cc1287-8
36. Mr. Salt

asked the Home Secretary whether he has yet designated the target areas in the large industrial cities in which women will not be called upon to do fire-guard duty; and whether the centre of Birmingham is such a target area?

Mr. H. Morrison

No, Sir. This cannot be done until the necessary orders, which are in active preparation, have been made. I am glad to have this opportunity of making it clear that the special provisions to which my hon. Friend refers will relate only to fire guard duty by women in business premises. Their liability to, duty in respect of residential premises under the Compulsory Enrolment Order will be unaffected.

Mr. Salt

Does my right hon. Friend know that women are being called as fire watchers in the centre of Birmingham and that many of them consider, in view of the statement made by the right hon. Gentleman, that it should not take place?

Mr. Morrison

I do not think that the women are nearly as worried about it as the men are, and in any case the old Orders at the moment operate, and they must march. I will get the new Orders made as quickly as I can, but a considerable drafting problem is involved. I can assure the hon. Member that there will be no undue delay.