HC Deb 07 December 1939 vol 355 cc845-6W
Colonel Wedgwood

asked the Home Secretary what steps he has taken to reduce the cost of air-raid defence by substituting voluntary service when required for paid full-time service; and whether he has formed any estimate of the present cost per month falling upon national and/or local funds of wardens, auxiliary firemen, war police reserve, first-aid and ambulance drivers?

Sir J. Anderson

The greater part of the Civil Defence services consists of unpaid volunteers. In the more vulnerable areas whole-time paid personnel has been authorised up to a maximum figure for each area. I am conducting a review through the Regional Commissioners into the possibilities of reducing the number of paid personnel in some services, where this can be done without impairing the efficiency of the service in the area. In order to help in the replacement of whole-time paid personnel by unpaid volunteers, I have announced that unpaid volunteers who lose wages through attending to their duties during an air raid will receive compensation for this loss of wages. In addition, I have received offers from important industrial organisations that in the event of serious raids in their area they will send the trained parties from their establishments to help the local authority. The cost of the various services during October, before the review was completed, was at the rate of approximately £3,770,000 per month.