HC Deb 20 April 1950 vol 474 cc321-2
61 and 62. Mr. De la Bére

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury (1) whether, in connection with the 2,000 officials who have power to enter private houses and premises without a warrant, he can state the exact numbers who are in the Ministry of Civil Aviation, the War Damage Commission and the Inland Revenue Valuation Offices; and if, in view of the public dislike and resentment at having their homes intruded upon, the whole position will now be reviewed with a view to these powers being rescinded;

(2) in connection with the 2,000 officials who are permitted to enter homes without warrant, what safeguards the householder has so as to satisfy himself that a person demanding entry without warrant is authorised to do so, with special regard to the danger of criminals imposing upon householders by impersonating these officials.

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Douglas Jay)

As regards the numbers of officials, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Wokingham (Mr. Remnant) on 18th April. These powers are invariably exercised with proper discretion. Visits are nearly always arranged by appointment, and the householder can demand to see the official's pass.

Mr. De la Bére

Does the hon. Gentleman not realise that that reply does notgive the precise number; does he really mean to suggest to this honourable House that we are not to have this information? Supposing there were but one, is that not one too many; and is it not commensurate with a "Police State "? Surely something must be done to preserve our traditional liberties. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Hear, hear! Can I have an answer, or do we understand that liberty has gone up the flue?