HC Deb 02 March 1939 vol 344 cc1482-3W
Mr. Cape

asked the Minister of Health whether he has considered the advisability of building camps for evacuation in time of emergency in West Cumberland; if so, has any decision been arrived at?

Mr. Elliot

Consideration is being given to a number of sites, but no dceision has yet been arrived at as to the precise location of the camps.

Brigadier-General Brown

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that at Swallowfield, Berkshire, after air-raid precautions authorities had arranged and made a return of all their billeting arrangements for children to the Home Office, the military authorities informed the householders that their houses would be requisitioned in case of war for military billets; and whether he will take steps to stop this unnecessary overlapping of Government Departments and the consequential waste of time and worry caused to the inhabitants thereby?

Mr. Elliot

While inquiries as to the accommodation available for the reception of children have been proceeding, it has been necessary, at the same time, for the military authorities to make reconnaissances in order to prepare plans for billeting troops, should need arise. When the investigations are completed, arrangements will be made between the Departments to allot accommodation as may be most suitable.

I am not aware that any such definite statement as is suggested was made by the military authorities to householders at Swallowfield.

Lieut.-Colonel Macnamara

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that the towns of Chelmsford and Brentwood, while wishing to co-operate in the National Service programme, are unsuitable localities for the reception of children evacuated from London owing to their equal vulnerability to air attack; that the people of these towns have to arrange for the evacuation of their own children; and whether, in consequence, he will review any schemes affecting these areas?

Mr. Elliot

I have received representations to the effect suggested by my hon. and gallant Friend from one of the towns to which he refers. In considering the use of districts for reception areas regard has been paid to the possibilities. When the survey of accommodation has been completed the Government will be able to consider the practicability of adjusting the boundaries of the area provisionally marked for the reception of children, and the position of the towns to which my hon. and gallant Friend refers will be considered in this connection together with that of other districts.

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