HC Deb 14 December 1950 vol 482 cc1328-9
23. Mr. Donner

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many persons have enrolled for Civil Defence since the Prime Minister's appeal for volunteers on the wireless.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Geoffrey de Freitas)

I regret that this information is not available from the recruiting returns, but during October and November the combined strengths of the Civil Defence Corps, Auxiliary Fire Service and National Hospital Service Reserve in England and Wales rose from 71,500 to almost 104,000.

Mr. Donner

Do the Government intend to take any additional steps to attract more adequate numbers, such as a direct approach by the local authorities to all people who served in Civil Defence in the last war, in order to find out whether they are able or willing to serve again?

Mr. de Freitas

A great deal of that is being done. I am only too anxious to hear such suggestions from hon. Members.

Lieut.-Commander Gurney Braithwaite

Is the hon. Gentleman satisfied that the machinery for dealing with those who volunteer by post is now acting sufficiently promptly, in view of the fact that I sent his right hon. Friend a case the other day of a constituent who applied, who has had great experience, and who had to wait three weeks for an acknowledgment?

Mr. de Freitas

From time to time defects do occur in the machinery and organisation, and I am only too glad to look into any evidence I get about them.

Mr. H. Hynd

Can my hon. Friend say whether a Civil Defence section is being organised in this House?

Mr. de Freitas

That is not really a matter for my Department.

Mr. Nabarro

Will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind the special position of rural areas which will be required presently as special reception areas and make provision for special literature for Civil Defence purposes in these areas?

Mr. de Freitas

The particular function of rural areas in our plans is recognised and I will look into the last point made by the hon. Member.

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