HC Deb 23 November 1939 vol 353 cc1414-6W
Mr. Sorensen

asked the Minister of Health whether, in order to discourage any dangerous return of evacuees during the Christmas season, he is making any arrangements for the issue of cheap railway tickets or cheap motor-coach facilities to enable the evacuated mothers and children to be visited by relatives and friends; whether he will also get reception area authorities to provide suitable accommodation during Christmas to enable the evacuees to meet relatives and friends under the best conditions possible; and whether he has given special attention to the problems of evacuation, particularly related to the Christmas season?

Mr. Elliot

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my right hon. and gallant Friend the Minister of Transport on 15th November to my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham (Mr. H. Kerr). I am also sending the hon. Member a copy of a circular which I have addressed to the local authorities. The circular deals fully with the arrangements which it is recommended should be made at Christmas and the New Year.

Mr. Parker

asked the Minister of Health on what calculations were the billeting allowances for evacuated children based; and whether allowance was made in this for extra expenditure on heating, lighting, cleaning and laundry, and whether it was expected that any part of the allowance should go towards rent?

Mr. Elliot

The billeting allowances were fixed after careful consideration of the amount necessary for care, board, and lodging and should include heat, lighting, cleaning and laundry. In the circumstances of different households the extent to which the latter items would involve any appreciable additional cost to the householder, must vary and cannot be computed. The element of rent would not enter into an allowance for boarding a child.

Mr. Silkin

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware of the hardship caused in many cases of children who were staying with relatives in reception areas at the outbreak of war and have continued to stay there, by the refusal of his Department to pay the usual billeting allowances; and whether he will reconsider this question with a view to making the usual payment in these cases?

Mr. Elliot

I am not yet in a position at present to add anything to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for the Forest of Dean (Mr. Price) on 19th October.

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