HC Deb 06 October 1942 vol 383 cc1063-4
37. Mr. Neil Maclean

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether his attention has been called to the cases of destruction of air-raid precautions shelter works and appliances and to the damage to static water tanks for fire-fighting in the Glasgow area; and what steps, through the schools or otherwise, he proposes to take with a view to stopping, in the public interest, this destruction?

Mr. Johnston

I am aware of the deplorable destruction and damage to which my hon. Friend refers. The damage to shelters has been estimated at between £50,000 and £70,000. Measures have already been taken, including repeated appeals to the public, warnings to children at school, and so on, but the position in Glasgow remains serious. I took the matter up again with the Regional Commissioner and as a result the District Commissioner for the Western Area discussed the position recently with the Lord Provost of Glasgow, and further action is being taken through a number of channels, including lectures to children at school by uniformed police officers and others, the provision of shelter inspectors, etc. I had hoped that by now the public would have realised that these shelters and tanks have been provided for their own protection at much expense and labour. In so far as the damage is caused by school children and adolescents we must of course make allowances for the natural ebullience of youth and for the absence of adequate playing fields in some parts of the city. Nevertheless a grave responsibility rests on parents and indeed upon all citizens to see that these vital public defences are safeguarded.

Mr. Gallacher

Is not the right hon. gentleman aware that the cause of most of this is that young people are left to run about the streets with no facilities for playing fields or sports?

Mr. McKinlay

Is my right hon. Friend not aware that many of the shelters which have been damaged are in the middle of public parks with 50 acres of open space around them?