15. Mr. Robertson
asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that a borough council, of which he has been notified, has rejected the proposal of its civil defence committee that senior wardens should take control of divisional information centres dealing with post-raid services; that the council will not meet again for two months; and will he, therefore, take steps to appoint competent officials to take charge of these centres so that the public will get the services they require and to which they are entitled.
§ Mr. Willink
I am aware that the council in question did not accept the recommendation of the Civil Defence Control Committee that senior wardens should take control of divisional information centres. I understand that the council took the view that the senior district wardens would already have enough to do in the discharge of their other important duties. I am informed, however, that the council did decide to place each information bureau under the control of an official of the council.
Is it not a fact that, in at least one of the divisions concerned, there has been a serious lack of co-ordination and of supervision of post-raid services? Having regard to the well-known man-power position, in which it is almost impossible to get competent people, will not my right hon. Friend take steps to appoint senior wardens, who have knowledge and experience, and particularly local knowledge?
§ Mr. Willink
My hon. Friend is aware that I have taken considerable personal interest in the question of co-ordination in the district to which he has referred. These officers were appointed only a comparatively short time ago, and it would be unconstitutional if I should take special powers to appoint the officers of local authorities.
Is it not a fact that the right hon. and learned Gentleman and the 1584 Home Secretary have already done that unconstitutional thing by bringing in a billeting officer from Plymouth and borough engineers from Poplar? If he does not realise his responsibility in the matter, may I assure him that the people do?