HC Deb 08 January 1942 vol 377 cc8-9
30. Major Sir Jocelyn Lucas

asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been drawn to the desire expressed by members of the Auxiliary Fire Service and air-raid precautions services to be allowed to do munition or other useful work in their spare time, both when off duty and when standing by with nothing to do; and what steps are being taken to tap this reservoir of skilled and partly-skilled labour for part-time work?

Mr. H. Morrison

Arrangements have been made, and are about to be announced to local authorities and others concerned,-under which use will be made during a part of their working hours not devoted to training and exercises, of the skill and labour of a considerable number of Civil Defence personnel. The work upon which they will be engaged will be for Civil Defence purposes, notably, the construction of static water dams, necessary improvements of stations and service depots and of public shelters. The details of the scheme will be announced shortly. As the hon. Baronet is aware, many of the men do obtain useful employment when off duty and there is no objection to this, provided that it does not prejudice the proper performance of their primary functions as members of Civil Defence services. In addition, an experiment has just begun for the employment on war work of Civil Defence personnel released for longer periods conditionally on their returning to Civil Defence duties in case of need. On the result of this and other experiments which are contemplated, I shall be able to consider whether a scheme of a more ambitious character is compatible with the essential purpose of a Civil Defence organisation, namely, to be available for its primary duties as and when required.