HC Deb 01 February 1962 vol 652 cc1269-70
17. Mr. P. Noel-Baker

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will lay a White Paper before the House explaining the principles on which Her Majesty's Government's policy on Civil Defence is based, and showing the main items of expenditure to which £18 million were allocated during the fiscal year, 1961–62.

Mr. R. A. Butler

The basis of our Civil Defence organisation is well known and I do not think that a White Paper is necessary at present. Information about home defence expenditure in this financial year is available in the Report on Defence, 1961; and it is intended to deal with the subject in the corresponding Report for 1962.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Will the right hon. Gentleman in the forthcoming Report make quite plain what is the policy of the Government in regard to such matters as early warnings, evacuation of cities and shelter against 10-megaton bombs?

Mr. Butler

We shall do our best in the coming Defence White Paper to answer as much as we can of the right hon. Gentleman's questions.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that it is many years now—five years, I think—since we had an adequate debate on Civil Defence? Is it not time that the House had an opportunity to discuss this serious problem? May we expect his co-operation in getting it?

Mr. Butler

I am always ready to take part in debate. It is a matter for the arrangement of the business of the House.