HC Deb 22 November 1984 vol 68 cc390-1
5. Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether local authorities are directed under his Department's guidelines to use training films for the training of civil defence volunteers and for the education of the general public on protective measures in the event of war.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. Giles Shaw)

It is for local authorities to decide how best to undertake local training and education, but we are considering how we can help with standard training material, including a film.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

Will my hon. Friend consider the production of an up-to-date film on civil defence similar to that produced on NATO?

Mr. Shaw

I shall consider with some urgency the provision of up-to-date film material on civil defence, and will study the NATO model to see whether it is appropriate.

Rev. Martin Smyth

The Minister may recall that I have previously asked what provisions are being made to train the trainers. In the light of his answer, I wonder whether more urgent consideration could be given to the provision of a film. When one realises how speedily television documentaries can be produced which can undermine the nation's morale, surely we should be producing, with equal speed, films designed to improve the facilities of the nation?

Mr. Shaw

I take the hon. Gentleman's point. We must improve training facilities for the trainers. The hon. Gentleman will know about the Civil Defence college at Easingwold and the many courses run there, but it is necessary for us to improve the equipment.

Mrs. Clwyd

Does the Minister intend to use his powers of direction under the Civil Defence (General Local Authority Functions) Regulations 1983; and, if so, how soon?

Mr. Shaw

As my right hon. and learned Friend has explained, local authorities are being invited to complete the questionnaire, which will be sent to the Home Department by the end of the year. The answers will then be assessed. There is no need to consider using the powers until we have fully analysed the responses to the questionnaire.