HC Deb 07 December 1944 vol 406 c717
43. Rear-Admiral Beamish

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will state the position of those citizens who have voluntarily or otherwise acquired Morrison table shelters from the Government; is it the intention of the Government to repurchase or advise citizens as to the method of disposal of such shelters; and what would be the number and cost to the taxpayers if all were repurchased by the Government.

Mr. H. Morrison

Indoor table shelters have been issued free on request to householders whose incomes are below a prescribed limit, and these shelters which comprise over 90 per cent. of the total issues remain the property of the Crown. The question of their repurchase, therefore, does not arise. It is intended eventually to collect them for disposal by the Government, but it will probably be a considerable time after the end of hostilities before labour and transport can be spared for the purpose. Until the shelters have been collected, householders are under a statutory obligation to take reasonable care for their preservation. About 90,000 shelters have been sold to householders. The question of repurchasing such of these shelters as may be offered by householders is receiving consideration, but should it be decided to adopt such a course, the price of repurchase would doubtless be fixed so as to ensure that having regard to the proceeds of final disposal and the cost of handling, no charge fell on public funds.

Rear-Admiral Beamish

Is it to be understood that the substance of the right hon. Gentleman's reply is that in the case of not being able to sell these things, and get something back for them, they can be kept as air-raid-looms?