HC Deb 14 June 1939 vol 348 cc1321-2W
Mr. Jagger

asked the First Commissioner of Works how many of the offices of the Ministry occupied wholly or partly by the Ministry of Labour staff and /or occupied jointly with the staff of other Government Departments, and /or outside business firms, are constructionally capable of being fitted with air-raid precautions shelters and other protective material; when these air-raid precautions arrangements will be completed; what interim arrangements are being made in those offices where the premises cannot be so constructionally fitted for air-raid precautions; and how soon he anticipates new and suitable premises for air-raid precautions will be provided?

Mr. Ramsbotham

In practically all Ministry of Labour offices in vulnerable areas, it should be possible to provide an adequate measure of air-raid protection, either by strengthening or adding to existing structures or by making trenches in adjoining ground. In cases where the staff are housed in Crown buildings whether or not jointly occupied, or in premises of which there is a single lease with more than 10 years to run, my Department is undertaking the work. In other cases where the offices are in leased accommodation occupied by staffs of 50 or more, it will be the obligation of the landlords under the Civil Defence Bill to provide refuge accommodation.

The programme will necessarily take time to carry out. The survey of Crown buildings is practically complete and structural work has started in a good proportion of cases. I am unable to say when landlords will complete the work for which they will be responsible under the Civil Defence Bill. Pending the provision of shelter schemes a circular has been issued to all staffs informing them of emergency measures that can be taken, if necessary, by means of sand-bags, wire netting, gas proof cloth, etc., and supplies of these articles have been made, or are being made, available.