HC Deb 24 November 1942 vol 385 cc647-8
21. Mr. John Dugdale

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will consider, as an experiment, the appointment of caretakers in a certain number of buildings requisitioned by the War Office?

The Secretary of State for War (Sir James Grigg)

A considerable number of caretakers is being employed by the War Department to look after unoccupied requisitioned houses.

22. Mr. Dugdale

asked the Secretary of State for War how many officers have been reprimanded for damage done to buildings by troops under their command; and how many have been compelled to make a contribution towards the cost of such damage?

Sir J. Grigg

There is no record in the War Office of any case in the last year of any court-martial or summary trial arising out of the responsibility of officers for damage to property by troops under their command. Nor are there any records readily available of the number of officers who may have been censured by their superior officers or incurred financial penalties for this type of neglect.

Mr. Dugdale

Does that mean that the War Office does not take this particular subject seriously?

Sir J. Grigg

Not at all; it means that there has been a certain decentralisation and that the records in some of the Commands do not come to the War Office.

Mr. Mathers

In view of the damage which has been done, has the right hon. Gentleman in mind any means of preventing it and thereby removing a serious reproach on our troops?

33. Mr. Dugdale

asked the Secretary of State for War whether, in view of the increase in the number of buildings requisitioned by his Department, he will increase the number of inspectors detailed to carry out flying inspections of all such buildings?

Sir J. Grigg

No, Sir. The staff at present engaged on the inspection of requisitioned buildings is in general keeping abreast of its work, and I do not consider that the employment of more officers and men is justified?

Mr. Dugdale

Is the Minister aware that in one Command there are no fewer than 13,000 requisitioned buildings and that there is only one inspector, who has been able to cover only 300 buildings in three months?

Sir J. Grigg

The Claims Commission, too, assist in this work and have been doing so for a year.