HC Deb 01 July 1948 vol 452 cc2360-2
43. Sir Stanley Reed

asked the Minister of Education how many camps were constructed under the Camps Act of 1939; the total cost to the latest convenient date; the purpose to which they are now being put; and the degree to which the accommodation provided is utilised.

Mr. Tomlinson

Thirty-one camps were constructed in England and Wales under the Camps Act, 1939. The total capital expenditure incurred on them was £1,055,390; running costs are met from the revenue received from the letting of the camps. Twenty-nine are let to local education authorities for parties of children from schools maintained by them, one is used by an orphanage school, and one is occupied by the military. The effective period of occupation varies from nine to 11 months of the year, and the average number of children per camp during the year ended 31st March, 1948, was 177.

Sir S. Reed

Does the revenue cover the whole of the capital cost as well as the sinking fund and maintenance charges? Is there any reason why the military should remain in occupation of a camp which was set up by order of the right hon. Gentleman's Department for the benefit of children, and to give them a place at which to have open-air holidays?

Mr. Tomlinson

I could not give the answer to the first part of the supplementary question without notice. With regard to the second part, I will make inquiry.

Mr. Anthony Greenwood

In view of the importance of the camps in providing holiday facilities, will my right hon. Friend say whether the National Camps Corporation is still in existence? If it is not, will he consider its re-establishment?

Mr. Tomlinson

It is in existence, and these camps are let by that Corporation. The fact that 30 out of 31 are being used by school children, and being used for 11 months of the year, seems to me to show that they could not make much more use of them.

Mr. Pickthorn

In view of the figure of 177, the number actually using each camp on the average, could the right hon. Gentleman tell us what would have been the maximum number, or what percentage 177 is of the capacity of the camps?

Mr. Tomlinson

When I have been given time to work it out.

Mr. Scollan

Can my right hon. Friend tell us what steps are being taken to get the military out of the camp, and to make it available for the children?

Mr. Tomlinson

I have already said I shall make inquiry.