HC Deb 08 November 1938 vol 341 cc3-6W
Captain Plugge

asked the Home Secretary whether the face-pieces of gas masks have hitherto been stored in cans from which the air has been extracted and the inner gas or nitrogen substituted while the filters have been stored in air-tight cylinders; and what steps it is proposed to take to ensure the reasonable preservation of the gas masks which have already been distributed?

Mr. Lloyd

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. As regards the second part, steps have been taken to impress on the public the need to take proper care of their respirators, and my right hon. Friend has urged upon local authorities the desirability of regular inspections to see that this is being done. Boxes to contain the respirators are in process of issue and the whole position is to be reviewed in six months' time.

Brigadier-General Brown

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware of the water difficulties that would have arisen in Crawley and in the surrounding rural areas if billeting of any refugees had become necessary; and will he consult with the Minister of Health with a view to ending the hold-up of water supplies in that area due to the failure of the plans of the Horsham Rural District Council's water engineer?

Sir S. Hoare

My right hon. Friend is aware of the difficulty as to water at Crawley and he is already in communication with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health in the matter.

Mr. Day

asked the Home Secretary whether he will state the number of air-raid wardens that have been enrolled under the air-raid protection scheme, separately, for the city and county of London and provinces; and will he give particulars of whether a comprehensive survey has been made for the purpose of affording shelter accommodation in the case of emergency?

Mr. Lloyd

Up to 30th September, 28,526 wardens had been enrolled in the city and county of London, and 372,000 outside. Two hundred and fifty thousand additional enrolments have been made since that date, but it is not yet known how many are wardens. As regards the last part of the question, I would refer the hon. Member to the statement made in the Debate of Thursday last.

Mr. Bull

asked the Home Secretary whether he can state the numbers of London children whose parents refused to permit them to be evacuated on the occasion of the last emergency; and what proportion of the whole number of children were thus affected?

Mr. Lloyd

I understand that the parents' meetings organised by the London. County Council during the recent emergency showed that the parents of 80 per cent. of the schoolchildren were in favour of a scheme for their separate evacuation, and that subsequent communications from parents suggested that the percentage would have become higher than this at later dates.

Mr. R. Gibson

asked the Home Secretary whether he will state the total number of persons recruited for air-raid precautions in Scotland, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Greenock, respe?tively; and how many in each case are air-raid wardens?

Mr. Lloyd

Figures distinguishing the particular services for which volunteers have enrolled are not available for any date later than the 30th September. Up to that date the numbers of volunteers generally and as air-raid wardens were as shown below:

Total volunteers to 30th September. Numbers of air raid wardens included.
Scotland (whole) 62,260 33,218
Glasgow 7,926 3,327
Edinburgh 7,233 3,249
Greenock 598 331

During October it is understood that 2,839 more volunteers have been enrolled in Glasgow and 144 more in Greenock, but it is not known how many of these are for the wardens' service. No figures

Nature of Accident. 1937–38. 1936–37. 1935–36. 1934–35.
Collision with other vehicles 134 100 94 124
Collision with spur posts, standards, walls, etc. 21 24 26 18
Collision with pedestrians 4 4 4 Nil
Total 159 128 124 142

My right hon. Friend is informed that the great majority of the above accidents were of a trivial nature and that, of the total of 159 accidents which occurred in the year 1937–38 (when vehicles in use were augmented by a number of Auxiliary Fire Service appliances), 35 took place while appliances were proceeding to fires, 18 in answering malicious fire alarms, and the remaining 106 while appliances were being used for instructional purposes.

As a result of these accidents in the year 1937–38 19 persons were injured and

of October enrolments are available for Edinburgh.

Mr. Bull

asked the Home Secretary what would be the cost of a test evacuation of school children from the London area, provided this test was limited to taking the children to the stations to which they would normally be sent in the case of an emergency; and whether, if this cost were not prohibitive, he will arrange for such a test to be carried out on one Saturday in the Spring?

Mr. Lloyd

I regret that I cannot give an estimate of cost. The question whether any arrangements for the separate evacuation of London school children in time of war can be tried out, in whole or in part, will receive careful consideration in consultation with the London County Council.