HC Deb 06 November 1940 vol 365 cc1358-60W
Mr. W. H. Green

asked the Minister of Transport whether his attention has been drawn to the hardship created for fathers whose families have been evacuated at the request of the military authorities from certain coastal areas; and whether he will arrange for reduced fare facilities so that they may visit their families, many of whom are now living in remote parts of the country?

Lieut.-Colonel Moore-Brabazon

At the present time facilities are available to enable parents to visit, at specially reduced fares, school children who were taken from the coastal areas in school parties and billeted by the Government The possibility of extending these facilities so that they may be available for persons who have made private arrangements for evacuating their families will be examined as circumstances permit, but it will be realised that there are many demands on the railways which must receive prior consideration.

Mr. Stokes

asked the Home Secretary whether he will declare London an evacuation area in order that the Defence (Evacuated Areas) Regulations may apply, particularly with regard to the suspension of payment of rent, rates and mortgages on empty houses, thereby relieving those who have voluntarily evacuated and, at the same time, stimulating further evacuation?

Mr. Mabane

No, Sir. My right hon. Friend does not consider that my hon. Friend's suggestion would be appropriate for London. The orderly transfer of mothers, children and other special categories of the population is being stimulated in other ways.

Sir P. Hannon

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether he has considered the invitation from the Argentine Government that English children will be received into that country and shown every consideration and hospitality; and whether he contemplates, on the resumption of the evacuation of children overseas, making the necessary arrangements for the acceptance of this invitation for children whose parents and guardians may desire to send them to the Argentine?

Mr. Shakespeare

His Majesty's Government learned on 31st July from His Majesty's Ambassador at Buenos Aires that the Argentine Government had issued a decree laying down the administrative procedure to be followed for the admission of children from this and other countries into Argentina. On 2nd August a message was broadcast on the British official wireless stating that the Argentine Government's action was regarded here as a very generous token of Argentina's practical sympathy. It is not the case that His Majesty's Government have received an invitation from the Argentine Government. The problems of educating British children in non-English speaking countries place difficulties in the way of any general Government scheme, and the Argentine regulations only contemplate children being sent out to join relatives or friends. It is felt that in such circumstances private arrangements are preferable.