HC Deb 22 December 1938 vol 342 cc3103-4W
Rear-Admiral Sir Murray Sueter

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether, in view of the delays in handling, examining and filing for record, the refugee applications, he will prepare in advance skeleton plans for clerical staffs capable of dealing quickly in an emergency with air raids and civilian defences, so that the marshalling of national services may not fall into confusion when faced with the necessity for rapid official action by the staffs concerned?

Sir J. Anderson

I am aware of the needs of the situation and my hon. and gallant Friend may rest assured that I am bearing them fully in mind in the development of my plans.

Mr. Noel-Baker

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he can now state the policy with regard to bomb-proof shelters which he has recommended to local authorities; and what financial proposals he has made in connection with this policy?

Sir J. Anderson

I would refer the hon. Member to the statement which I made yesterday.

Mrs. Adamson

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether any notices were sent by his Department to local authorities, concerning the regulations for air-raid precautions, stating that instruction for air-raid wardens at first-aid classes was not necessary; and whether any alternative is proposed?

Sir J. Anderson

No such advice has been issued to local authorities by my Department. It is made clear in the published A.R.P. Handbook on the Duties of Air-Raid Wardens that the training of wardens should include instruction in elementary first aid.

Mr. Sutcliffe

asked the Lord Privy Seal what is the present average cost of supplying the electric sirens which have been approved as suitable for air-raid warning purposes; and whether, in view of the fact that in many of the industrial areas in the North of England there are ample facilities for giving all such warnings by means of steam-operated sirens at much lower cost, he can say what steps are being taken by his Department to ensure that such steam sirens are used wherever possible?

Sir J. Anderson

It has always been impressed on local authorities that existing factory sirens should be used as part of the air-raid warning system wherever they are suitably placed and of adequate power. Electric sirens, the cost of which, including installation, may be estimated at from £60 to £80 each, are intended primarily for areas where suitable steam plants are not available.

Captain Plugge

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he can make a definite statement as to the ownership of the gas masks which have been distributed; and whether, in the case of sale or damage, any action is to be taken against the people who are responsible?

Sir J. Anderson

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I gave to-day in answer to a question by the hon. Member for Tamworth (Sir J. Mellor).

Mr. Churchill

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he is in a position to give any indication of the date by which His Majesty's Government is likely to be able to reach a conclusion upon whether to have the air-raid precautions trenches in the Royal Parks filled in or alternatively drained and revetted with concrete?

Sir J. Anderson

My right hon. Friend the First Commissioner of Works has agreed that, with one or two exceptions, the trenches in the Royal Parks may be retained in a reconstructed form; and recommendations for the carrying out of the necessary work have already been issued to the local authorities concerned.