HC Deb 08 June 1939 vol 348 cc620-1W
Sir I. Albery

asked the Lord Privy Seal why the circular issued by the Air-Raid Precautions Department on the 25th April regarding the development of shelter policy was addressed only to certain local authorities; and, as the regulations made under the Air-Raid Precautions Act, 1937, impose a duty on all scheme-making authorities under that Act to provide such shelter for the public as is necessary, what action he expects to be taken by those authorities to whom the circular of the 25th April was not sent?

Sir J. Anderson

If rapid and satisfactory progress is to be made with the provision of air-raid shelter, it is essential that in the immediate future attention shall be concentrated primarily on the areas most exposed to risk. Among other considerations, it is necessary that the available resources of professional skill and material shall be applied to the fullest possible extent towards the provision of the shelters required in those areas. The Government have therefore decided that the measures described in the circular to which the hon. Member refers shall be limited to those areas. Scheme-making authorities in other areas remain, however, under the obligation to which the hon. Member has referred; and when the Civil Defence Bill has passed into law they should proceed, on a scale related to their needs, with the designation of premises for use as public shelter and with plans for their adaptation. If such authorities have other schemes for public shelter which have already been brought to an advanced stage of preparation, I shall be prepared to consider them; but I must make it plain that my Department also must give priority to the work which is urgently required in the areas which are to be specified for the purposes of Part III of the Civil Defence Bill.