HC Deb 17 November 1947 vol 444 cc797-8
37. Sir Robert Young

asked the Minister of Supply whether he is aware that many people would be glad to be rid of their purchased air-raid shelters now lying useless in their back gardens; whether these are of any productive value during the present shortage of metals; and, if so, will he arrange with local authorities, or some other organisation, to collect them from those ready to part with them after giving notice of date and time of collection in specified districts of each area.

Mr. G. R. Strauss

Only a small proportion of the shelters available for recovery are privately owned. Local authorities have already notified all householders owning shelters that they will collect any which may be voluntarily given up. Alternatively, they can sell them to scrap merchants. Most of the material in the shelters is re-used in its existing form, though the sheets from the Anderson shelters have first to be straightened.

Sir R. Young

When and how will the local authorities advise these people, because I have never heard of this before?

Mr. Strauss

The owners were advised about a year ago that the local authorities would willingly take the shelters if they would give them up.

Sir Peter Macdonald

Is it not obvious that Anderson and Morrison shelters all over the country are rusting and corroding? Why have they not been used for scrap?

Mr. Strauss

A great many have been-collected. Many dumps have been sorted out, and the steel is being used for various purposes. One of the difficulties is shortage of labour, but the steel from these shelters is not much use as scrap.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Did not the right hon. Gentleman say that the shelters were not owned by the people in whose gardens they were? Therefore, why does he have to ask the owners for them? Surely the councils can take them over without asking?

Mr. Strauss

I said that only a small proportion of the shelters were owned by those in whose gardens they were, and it was about these shelters that the Question was asked.