HC Deb 24 June 1969 vol 785 cc1217-8
Q11. Mr. Eldon Griffiths

asked the Prime Minister if he will publish a list of the Departments, including Armed Service Departments, whose interests are affected by the consequences of flood emergencies, and whose activities are at present co-ordinated by the Minister of Housing and Local Government.

The Prime Minister

The Departments involved will vary but in the case of the serious flooding in East and South-East England last autumn, when I asked my right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government to co-ordinate the relief work, the Departments mainly concerned in addition to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government itself, were the Ministries of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Defence, Transport, Power, the then Ministry of Health, the Home Office, and the General Post Office.

Mr. Griffiths

Is the Prime Minister aware that during the recent flood emergencies United States forces in this country gave valuable help to local authorities without charge and that British forces abroad equally help local populations without charge? Yet during these floods the Royal Air Force sent local authorities a very large bill. Would the right hon. Gentleman look into this matter and also consider setting up a summer emergency committee to co-ordinate these matters?

The Prime Minister

I am aware of the first point raised by the hon. Gentleman and the reasons for it. With regard to the question of emergencies, I answered a Question earlier by the hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Marten) that there has been a Ministerial Committee on Emergencies for many years to deal with all these questions.

Flooding in this country is not confined to the summer, whatever impression we may all have. It occurs in winter as well. However, I am glad that the hon. Gentleman is ready to pay tribute to the tremendous work of the Winter Emergency Committee in ensuring that last year, unlike the position which we inherited from which we suffered in 1965 and 1966, there was a 25 per cent. margin of capacity in electricity over the peak of a very difficult winter.

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