HC Deb 27 July 1944 vol 402 cc876-80
30. Mr. Sorensen

asked the President of the Board of Education if he is satisfied that arrangements have been made to ensure that sufficient teachers are available for evacuated schoolchildren; that suitable accommodation is provided for those teachers; and that married women teachers over 40 years of age are given the option of remaining in their own district or of being evacuated for teaching purposes.

The President of the Board of Education (Mr. Butler)

I am not satisfied that the number of teachers who have so far gone to the reception areas is adequate, and I have sent to local education authorities for evacuation areas an urgent reminder of the importance of securing that the needs are met. I hope that the arrangements now made will ensure sufficient teachers for the evacuated children. Evacuated teachers are entitled to be billeted in the reception areas and it is for the billeting authority to find them suitable accommodation, I am sure local education authorities would not press for the evacuation of a teacher to whom it would cause special hardship to leave home.

Mr. Sorensen

Is the Minister aware that there are married women teachers of 50 to 55 who have come back to assist the nation at this time, and who are being pressed, even compelled, to leave home and go to the country?

Mr. Butler

I think that is a rather gloomy view of the situation. I have perfect confidence in leaving this matter to the administration of the local education authorities, and I think that the plans which are at present under consideration will result in the necessary number of teachers.

35. Mr. Pritt

asked the Minister of Health what arrangements are in existence for conveying from their London homes to their new addresses the luggage of mothers evacuated with children and for meeting the cost of such conveyance; and whether he is satisfied that such arrangements are working well.

Mr. Willink

A scheme has been made to provide for packages to be collected and forwarded at the cost of the Government evacuation scheme where mothers are unable to make their own arrangements for this purpose. Particulars are being sent to-day to the local authorities, and I believe that the arrangements will meet the need in question satisfactorily.

40. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Minister of Health whether he has considered the establishment of camps to accommodate evacuees either adults, children or both; and whether, where necessary, he will secure tents or tenting from America for this purpose.

Mr. Willink

Yes, Sir. I am making the fullest possible use of camps and hostels surrendered by the Services and other Departments to accommodate old people and organised parties of children with their own staffs for whom this is the most suitable type of accommodation. We can do better than tented camps for the aged or for mothers and young children.

Mr. Sorensen

Does the Minister appreciate that there are many people who would be only too glad to live in a tent for the summer? Could he not make a special effort to secure tentage for this purpose?

Mr. Willink

No, Sir, I think that for the present we can do better than tented accommodation, for old people and mothers with young children.

41. Captain Gammans

asked the Minister of Health, if special facilities for evacuation can be provided, with their families, for men who have been discharged from the Forces on account of shock or other forms of neurosis.

Mr. Willink

Free travel vouchers and billeting certificates are available for invalids who can arrange to go to relatives or friends in a reception area; and if there is a child or the wife is an expectant mother, the family may accompany them.

Captain Gammans

Cannot there be a little more elasticity in providing accommodation for these hard cases?

Mr. Willink

I can assure my hon. and gallant Friend that there is a most remarkable degree of elasticity being shown in our arrangements for evacuees.

Mr. Astor

What happens if people have no friends or relatives in reception areas?

43. Mr. E. J. Williams

asked the Minister of Health the number of evacuees who have been provided with billets in Wales; whether an effort has been made to acquire hostels and camps and with what results.

Mr. Willink

Approximately 30,000 evacuees have been provided with billets in Wales. Close contact is being maintained between the Welsh Board of Health and Government Departments who have freely offered vacant accommodation in hostels' and camps. Such accommodation is being made available forthwith for the use of evacuees.

55. Captain Cunningham-Reid

asked the Minister of Health why, if evacuees are billeted at lodging houses they are not also billeted at hotels.

Mr. Willink

The word "hotel" covers a wide variety of premises, but Defence Regulation 22 permits the service of a billeting notice on the occupier of any premises. This applies equally to the occupier of a boarding house and an hotel.

Captain Cunningham-Reid

That is no answer to the Question. Is it not a fact that very few evacuated children are billeted at luxury hotels? Why penalise those who are in a small way of business for the benefit of big business.

Mr. Willink

I feel sure that local authorities are seeking to billet evacuees in places most suitable for them. I cannot imagine that there will be many circumstances in which a family party would be happily quartered in the premises to which my hon. Friend refers as luxury hotels.

58. Captain Cunningham-Reid

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer to what extent the decision to bring back civil servants to London was governed by the necessity for making room in reception areas for evacuated children; and at what date the decision was reached.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Sir John Anderson)

There has been no general decision of this character. On the contrary, there are still very large numbers of evacuated staffs in the provinces. Such limited returns as have been sanctioned during the last two or three years have been necessitated either by operational developments or by reasons connected with the efficiency of the public service. They have not been affected in any way by the question of making room in the reception areas for evacuated children.

Captain Cunningham-Reid

Is the Chancellor aware that his answer is completely different from the one given to me last Friday by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health, who said that the reason civil servants had been brought back to London prior to the arrival of the flying bomb was in anticipation of making room for evacuated children?

Sir J. Anderson

Obviously I shall have to look into that, but I can assure my hon. and gallant Friend that the answer I have given is a correct answer.

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