§ Sir R. Glyn
asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that on 22nd October it was reported to the Abingdon Borough Council that under the new Fire Guard Regulations the compulsory scheme had cost £1,247 and that the estimated cost for the coming year would be £4,060, whilst in addition the appointment of a fire guard officer and staff would account for another £1,000 whereas the former voluntary fire guard system had cost £55; whether he is satisfied that for a town the size of Abingdon these expenses are justifiable; and what is the estimated cost of his scheme for the United Kingdom?1312W
§ Mr. H. Morrison
My hon. Friend is misinformed. The cost of Abingdon's fire guard organisation for the year ended September, 1943, was £1,052 and the estimated cost for the current year is £892. Both these figures are exclusive of expenditure on subsistence allowance for fire guards at business premises for which the local authority is the agent of my Department. The fire guard organisation at Abingdon has been agreed upon between the Regional Commissioner and the local authority and I am satisfied that it is no more than adequate. The total cost of the fire guard organisation of local authorities in England and Wales under the revised scheme will, it is estimated, amount to about £1½ millions per annum. This must be regarded as a premium for insurance against the heavy risks of enemy destruction of property of great value in itself and to the war effort.