§ 30. Mr. Thorne
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will now consider doing away with blacking-out of private homes, offices, and all public buildings.
§ Mr. H. Morrison
I have this matter constantly under consideration, but I do not yet see my way to accept my hon. Friend's suggestion.
§ Mr. Bowles
May I ask my right hon. Friend the Prince of Darkness, whether he has looked into the allegation that I made on the Adjournment before Christmas, that the Air Ministry's buildings, eight storeys high, on Kingsway, were fully lighted two hours after black-out? Has he officially advised the Air Council, and, if so, does he think that they are carrying out their obligations?
§ Mr. Morrison
I have no doubt that the Air Ministry have noted my hon. Friend's observations. As to the rest of his speech, I thought I had dealt very faithfully with it at the time.
§ Mr. Thorne
Is my right hon. Friend aware that if the black-out were done away with a vast amount of black-out material could be saved, and used for other purposes?
§ Mr. Morrison
That is a factor which is taken into account; but we must bear in mind that if the black-out were fully abolished, it might be easier for the enemy, by Heinkel aircraft, to drop fly-bombs on my hon. Friend's constituents.
§ 41. Mr. Keeling
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that public exhortations to save electric current lose much of their effect in places where street lamps remain lit throughout the day; and whether he will cause local authorities not to light street lamps at all whenever, owing to the shortage of labour or material, the lights cannot be turned out.
§ The Minister of Fuel and Power (Major Lloyd George)
I have been asked to reply. As my hon. Friend is aware, the Government decided that in this, the sixth, winter of the war some alleviation of the street lighting position was not only permissible but desirable; and on 19th January I informed my hon. Friend the Member for Holborn (Sir R. Tasker) that, in some areas, there could be no alternative in present circumstances between continuous lighting and no lighting at all. Local authorities are well aware of the need for the utmost economy in all forms of fuel and, as the Government's concession does not involve a serious increase in consumption, I should hesitate to fetter their discretion by further controls and Orders. The fact that, owing to wartime difficulties, continuous lighting is sometimes unavoidable does not justify in any way waste or extravagance in the use of fuel by individuals.
§ Mr. Keeling
Will the right hon. and gallant Gentleman make it clear that this Question, when it was put down on the Order Paper, was addressed to him? Does his unsuccessful attempt to "pass the buck" to the Home Secretary mean that he is in disagreement with the Home Secretary and, if so, will he refer the matter to the War Cabinet?