HC Deb 22 June 1939 vol 348 cc2476-8W
Mr. Dobbie

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he can inform the House as to the number of air-raid shelters allotted to Doncaster, Barnsley, Rotherham and York, respectively, how many of such are being delivered free in each place, and whether delivery has been completed in all or any of these places?

Sir J. Anderson

These shelters are being allotted first to those areas which are considered most exposed to risk of attack; and of the towns mentioned by the hon. Member only Rotherham has been included in the first priority lists. The local authority there has been asked to furnish the delivery particulars required and if these are received in time delivery of the shelters allocated should begin next month.

Mr. McGovern

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he is aware that of two families living in Shettleston Housing Scheme one of husband and wife only and having an income of £245 per year is given a steel shelter free, and the next-door neighbour, with eight children under 14 years of age, and having an income of £260 per year is refused a steel shelter and informed that he must purchase one; and whether he will take steps to provide the necessary shelters for all families free of charge?

Sir J. Anderson

On the facts as stated by the hon. Member the householders referred to in the question would both be entitled under the Government arrangements to a free shelter. If he will be good enough to send me particulars of the case I will have inquiries made locally. The answer to the last part of the question is in the negative.

Mr. Sandys

asked the Lord Privl Seal (1) whether he has considered the circular recently issued by the Westminster City Council to householders informing them that His Majesty's Government expect all householders who are not elegible for the free issue of air-raid shelters to make private arrangements to provide themselves with shelter-protection and that the materials required must be obtained from ordinary trade sources; whether His Majesty's Government have abandoned their policy of supplying shelters at cost price to householders who are not eligible for the free issue; and, if so, whether this applies to all areas;

(2) what is the Government's policy in regard to the provision against payment for steel shelters and materials for the strengthening of basements to householders who are not eligible for the free issue; in what areas such provision has been made; and whether priority is given to both categories of householders in the more vulnerable areas over those in less vulnerable areas?

Sir J. Anderson:

It has always been the policy of the Government that the steel shelters which are being manufactured on Government contract should not be made available for purchase until substantial deliveries have been made to householders who live in the areas most exposed to attack and are eligible to receive them free of charge. As soon as this stage has been reached, a public announcement will be made regarding the price and the method of purchase. There has been no change of policy in this respect. No similar arrangements have been contemplated in connection with the supply of materials for the strengthening of basements. I am aware of the circular issued by the Westminster City Council and, so far as it urges those who are in a position to do so to provide themselves with shelter as speedily as possible I am in agreement with it.

Mr. Sandys

asked the Lord Privy Seal, in view of the decision of the Government that, whilst splinter-proof and blast-proof shelter is in general adequate, deep or re-

inforced shelter protection is necessary in cases where the danger is abnormally great; and how many schemes for such deep shelters have been sanctioned by his Department, and where?

Sir J. Anderson

I would refer my hon. Friend to my statement on 20th April, in which I said that it would rest with the Government to indicate, through the appropriate Departments, in what cases more heavily protected shelter is considered desirable in. the interests of all concerned. The examination of these cases has begun and action will be taken first in those cases which are regarded as the most urgent.