HC Deb 30 July 1946 vol 426 cc778-9
44. Brigadier Low

asked the Secretary of State for War what provision has been made for the accommodation of families of personnel of the Army in Egypt now moved out of Cairo and Alexandria to the Canal zone.

Mr. Lawson

It will be appreciated by the hon. and gallant Member that the undertaking to evacuate Egypt presented a serious problem regarding the re-accommodation of families. It is possible to provide for them only on a temporary and austere scale: arrangements on the holiday camp principle were decided upon, and authority has been given for the constructional work to begin. Officers and men not wishing to accept this accommodation for their families are to be given the choice of returning the families to the United Kingdom or leaving them in the Delta. In the latter case they cannot of course be provided with hospital or N.A.A.F.I. facilities.

Brigadier Low

Will the right hon. Gentleman say for approximately how many families these holiday camps are available?

Mr. Lawson

I am sorry, but I cannot say at the moment.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

Will the right hon. Gentleman take into account the circumstances of the civilians—whether they are relations or not of men who served the Army in Egypt faithfully for many years?

Mr. Lawson

Yes, Sir, and I can assure the House that this matter has been receiving very serious consideration. Resettlement in the Canal zone is a very grave problem, and we are doing all we can to make their lot as bearable as possible.

Captain Francis Noel-Baker

Can the Secretary of State for War say what site in the Canal zone has been chosen for headquarters B.T and also G.H.Q., and also whether it is now decided to amalgamate these two headquarters which, for a long time, have been duplicating each other's work?

Mr. Lawson

G.H.Q. is to be in the Canal zone and I am afraid that the arrangement will have to be mostly tented. Necessarily a certain amount of hutments have to be built, but, generally speaking, they will have to be content for some time with tents.

Captain Noel-Baker

And is B.T. Headquarters to be amalgamated, because for many months the two headquarters have duplicated each other's work?

Major Tufton Beamish

May I ask why authority has only just been given for this construction to begin, when the Government must have known months ago that we would evacuate that area?

Mr. Lawson

That is not in accordance with the facts.

Sir. Martin Lindsay

May we take it that this matter will be settled as speedily as that of accommodation for families going to Germany?

Mr. Lawson

I think we have not done so badly as far as families going to Germany arc concerned.

Mr. Keeling

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether there is any embargo on families now in this country going out to the Canal zone?

Mr. Lawson

I cannot say that, but I should not encourage any families to go out to the Canal zone.