HC Deb 23 February 1939 vol 344 cc598-9W
Mr. Sorensen

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he will define more closely the degree of power of Regional Commissioners over local authorities in a time of national emergency; what functions, apart from the levying of rates, those local authorities will be able freely to exercise without liability to interference, curtailment, or virtual abolition by the Regional Commissioners; and whether, in any respect, the powers to be vested in the Commissioners will temporarily abrogate the authority of Parliament?

Sir J. Anderson

As was explained by the Prime Minister on the 7th February last in answer to a question by the hon. Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Garro Jones) a Regional Commissioner would, in the event of a breakdown of communications in time of war, exercise the powers vested in His Majesty's Government, until communications had been satisfactorily re-established. These arrangements do not in themselves affect in any way the functions of local authorities in the matter of civil defence. Nor do they affect the powers of Parliament.

Mr. Medlicott

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he is aware that, notwithstanding the fact that his Department has approved both steel and concrete construction for the permanent lining of the trenches dug during the emergency, many local authorities have precluded the use of steel and have invited tenders in concrete only, thus restricting competition; and whether he is prepared to issue any instructions in the matter?

Sir J. Anderson

The method of carrying out this work, within the recommendations issued by my Department, is a matter for the various local authorities concerned, and detailed statistical information of the action taken is not available. Those recommendations, as my hon. Friend points out, allow a free choice between steel and concrete, and designs in steel as well as in concrete have been approved by my Department for the use of local authorities. I do not think that there is occasion for further instructions.

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