HL Deb 09 July 1947 vol 150 cc257-9

My Lords, I beg leave to ask His Majesty's Government the first question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The question was as follows:

To ask His Majesty's Government, what steps are being taken to expedite the renovation and extension of buildings of present Territorial Army drill halls and hutted quarters which are in many cases entirely inadequate; and further, whether it is proposed to grant the Territorial Army Association power to buy land and buildings suitable for future extension.]


My Lords, renovation of existing Territorial Army Headquarters has been in hand since the reconstitution of the Territorial Army was announced. The scope of the work has had to be limited to essential repairs and redecoration so that labour and materials will not be diverted from the national housing programme. The extension of buildings in permanent construction has not yet been started, nor is considered practicable to do so at the present time. In certain cases where additional accommodation is essential, temporary hutting is being provided. A large building programme is, however, envisaged for the Territorial Army as soon as conditions permit.

With regard to the second part of the question, land and buildings are being and will continue to be acquired by Territorial and Auxiliary Forces Associations subject to War Office approval in each case.


My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for his reply, and I understand that orders have been sent to the Associations enabling them to buy their own land for extensions. Arising out of the noble Lord's reply, do His Majesty's Government appreciate the grave urgency in so many Associations at the present time of having some plan to extend and erect new buildings as soon as possible? They are unable to get on with the job and in eighteen months' time we shall have no buildings. I do ask His Majesty's Government to take some urgent interest in this matter in order to enable the Associations to get on with their arrangements.


My Lords, before the noble Lord replies, may I ask in particular whether he can inform us as to the position with regard to vehicle accommodation, because there is no doubt that with the expansion of vehicles in all Territorial armoured units the present accommodation is absolutely inadequate. Until that point is dealt with I am afraid there will be very grave difficulties.


My Lords, arising out of the answer the noble Lord has given, I would like to ask whether His Majesty's Government are aware that these conditions obtain in practically all Associations, and in particular the Association of Essex. They are absolutely crowded out and units have not the room to train their men nor to house their equipment. Are His Majesty's Government further aware that this constitutes a great handicap and is very disheartening to those who are endeavouring to raise the strength at the present time?


My Lords, will the noble Lord also bear in mind the urgent need for providing special accommodation for the permanent staff at or near Territorial Headquarters, since so many members of the permanent staff have to travel long distances to their homes late at night, which is not conducive to efficiency?


My Lords, all the points raised are, of course, very pertinent to the situation of the Territorial Army. His Majesty's Government in general are very conscious of them, and as a member of a Territorial Army Association I am familiar with the problem. I will see that the points which have been raised are brought to the notice of my right honourable friend, the Secretary of State for War.


Arising out of the noble Lord's answer can he give an assurance that the points will also be brought to the attention of the Minister of Works and Buildings?