§ Major Peto
asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that in a typical Birmingham National Fire Service station the firemen on the day shift are employed from 7 a.m. to 8.30 a.m. cleaning the station and brass work, although this has already been done by the night shift; from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on physical training; from 11.15 a.m. to 1 p.m. on further cleaning of appliances; from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on repetitive drills and from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on no duties at all except gate pickets as necessary; and whether he will take steps to provide these men with more constructive work during such times as they are not actively engaged on fire prevention work?
§ Mr. H. Morrison
I am informed that National Fire Service personnel in Birmingham are employed in accordance with the normal station routine, under which the mornings are mainly devoted to the cleaning of stations, quarters, appliances and gear and to drills, instruction and physical training, and the afternoons to drills, exercises, tests and necessary Fire Service work. The detailed arrangements at an individual station would rest primarily with the local officers; in the absence of any indication of the stations referred to in the Question it has not been possible to check these allegations in detail, but I am informed that no unnecessary cleaning work is carried out; it would be wrong for so long a period as two hours to be devoted to physical training. As regards the second part of the Question, over 25 per cent. of the available operational personnel in the Birmingham Region are engaged on various forms of essential work, such as the laying of steel pipes, the repair and maintenance of National Fire Service appliances and buildings and so on.