HC Deb 12 February 1942 vol 377 cc1571-2
22. Mr. Edmund Harvey

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he can give the latest figures of the numbers of children awaiting accommodation in approved schools; whether numbers of boys are still detained in prison owing to the shortage of remand homes; and what progress has been made in the provision of additional remand homes and additional approved schools?

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Herbert Morrison)

At the end of last year about 1,300 boys and girls under 17 were awaiting vacancies in approved schools, but it must be remembered that it usually takes time to find for each case the appropriate school and there must, therefore, always be a substantial number waiting while arrangements are made for their reception into schools. The number waiting in prison was less than 20. As my hon. Friend is aware, no child under 14 can be detained in prison, and young persons between 14 and 17 cannot be so detained unless the court gives a certificate of unruliness or depravity. During the year nearly 600 additional places were provided in approved schools and about 450 in remand homes. Further plans are on foot and, although in war conditions the difficulties of finding premises and getting necessary work done are very great, it is hoped that a number of additional approved schools and remand homes may be opened during the next few months.

Mr. Harvey

Would it be possible to lease premises or urge authorities to do so instead of merely acquiring by purchase?

Mr. Morrison

I do not think that would be excluded from consideration.

Mr. Kenneth Lindsay

Have they power to requisition?

Mr. Morrison

I am not sure.

Mr. Thorne

Can anything be done to help local authorities to obtain more premises?

Mr. Morrison

We give them all the help we can in that direction.