HC Deb 01 March 1945 vol 408 cc1540-1
41. General Sir George Jeffreys

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that in C.D. areas, where partial demobilisation has been authorised, scheme-making authorities are forbidden to release any building, however small, without the prior consent of the regional commissioner, and that unnecessary delay is involved in answering questions and completing forms before this consent can be obtained; and whether he will give instruction whereby buildings no longer required may be at once released by scheme-making authorities.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Herbert Morrison)

It is desirable for operational reasons that the regional commissioner should be informed before premises used for Civil Defence purposes are released. In many cases it is also necessary to ascertain whether the premises are required for some other Government purpose and, if not, to consider before release what works have been done in them at the public expense. In the case of premises in which no substantial work has been done consent to release is normally given without delay, and I hope to be able to issue instructions in the near future under which it will be possible to dispose more expeditiously of the larger cases in which substantial work is involved.

Sir G. Jeffreys

Is the Minister aware that many of these premises—wardens' posts, small first-aid posts and small village halls—are very small indeed, and cannot possibly be used for other purposes? Is it thought that regional officials for these areas—the regional commissioners are no longer there—know better than major local authorities what premises are likely to be wanted, and what ought to be released?

Mr. Morrison

Sometimes the regional officers do know better than the local authorities, just as the Hampshire County Council sometimes think that they know better than the urban district or rural councils. These little frictions sometimes arise, but I am told that regional headquarters deal within a week with 72 per cent. of the applications for release. Sometimes a county council does not give enough particulars. I am very anxious that there should be speed in dealing with these matters.

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