§ 5. Sir Geoffrey Finsberg
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if the Civil Defence college, Easingwold, will issue a regular newsletter to local authorities.
§ Mr. Giles Shaw
We are aware of the importance of keeping local authorities and their emergency planning staff in touch with developments and are looking at how this might best be done. A newsletter is one of the possibilities under consideration.
§ Sir Geoffrey Finsberg
In his discussions, will my hon. Friend consider informing local authorities which waste ratepayers' money on frivolities such as nuclear-free zones that their first duty is to protect their inhabitants and that there are means of injuring people other than by nuclear weapons?
§ Mr. Shaw
I entirely agree with my hon. Friend. Relatively few local authorities have followed the GLC's lead in dealing slavishly with nuclear-free zones. We intend to carry through the recently issued regulations to ensure that all local authorities take their statutory duties seriously and implement them.
§ Mr. Neil Thorne
In any publication such as this, will my hon. Friend ensure that due weight is given to civil emergencies as well as to military ones, as civil defence has an important role to play? The more we can get that message over to the public, the better.
§ Mr. Kirkwood
If the Minister is intent on disseminating information from Easingwold, will he ask local authorities to go one stage further and make available by newsletter or any other means they think most appropriate their detailed plans to interested members of the public in their areas? There is everything to be gained from making it clear what civil defence arrangements there are in local authority areas.
§ Mr. Kilroy-Silk
Would such a newsletter not provide an admirable opportunity to end the Government's dishonest and hypocritical policy of pretending that there is some defence to a nuclear attack and to point out the consequences of a nuclear winter, which make irrelevant all planning for evacuation, relocation or shelter, and, more importantly, that, if we want to remove the threat of nuclear war, participation in peace negotiations is the most important and urgent task?
§ Mr. Patrick Thompson
Does my hon. Friend accept that many local authorities take their civil defence responsibilities seriously and that many of them—this is true in Norfolk — feel that they are not receiving the support on training that they should from the Government? Will my hon. Friend look again at the ways in which we can give the maximum support to those local authorities which are doing, or trying to do, a good job on civil defence?