HC Deb 22 June 1950 vol 476 cc1462-3
34. Brigadier Prior-Palmer

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the present position in the country in regard to volunteers for Civil Defence duties; what was the target figure; and to what extent have those numbers been recruited.

Mr. Ede

The number of volunteers enrolled at the end of March in the Civil Defence Corps, the Auxiliary Fire Service and the National Hospital Service Reserve was, approximately, 30,000. The next recruiting returns are not due until after the end of June, but I will communicate with the hon. and gallant Member as soon as they are available. As regards the second part of the Question, I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the reply which I gave on 26th May go to a question by the hon. Member for Harrow, East (Mr. Ian Harvey).

Brigadier Prior-Palmer

Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied that the situation is as it should be, and, if not, what steps does he propose to take to acquaint the country with the seriousness of the position?

Mr. Ede

No, Sir, I am not satisfied with the rate of recruiting, but, from time to time, those who have already enrolled are engaged in bringing in others. I believe that in this, as in other Services, the person who is already in, and who is interested in the matter, is the best recruiting sergeant.

Brigadier Head

Bearing in mind that the right hon. Gentleman is not satisfied with the result, has he any steps in mind to ensure that the very big discrepancy between the target and the actual results can be made less?

Mr. Ede

I was very careful not to set a target, so there is no discrepancy.