HC Deb 27 July 1944 vol 402 cc914-6W
Major Nield

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that the Hoole Urban District Council, after a survey in January, notified the appropriate authority that 250 evacuees could be accommodated; that on 10th July they were informed that 400 evacuees would arrive the same day; that no compulsory billeting was resorted to; that the householders willingly placed their accommodation at the disposal of the Council; that no family was informed that a billet could not be found for them; that the rest centres were satisfactory; that the evacuees were appreciative of the reception arrangements; and what inquiries were made by his Department to ascertain the facts.

Mr. Willink

The clerk of the Urban District Council was informed on 8th June that the allocation to Hoole under the evacuation scheme in preparation would be 400. On Sunday, 9th July, he was notified by telegram that the party would arrive on 11th July. In the light of reports that billeting was not going well an officer of my Department visited on 12th July. It was found that the billeting organisation needed assistance and that conditions at the rest centres required improvement. At the request and with the co-operation of the Council arrangements were made for the billeting officer of the Birkenhead County Borough Council to go in and organise the billeting. It is true that no compulsory billeting was resorted to and that householders willingly co-operated. I do not know that no family was informed that billets were not available; the Press reported interviews with some families who had returned. I have no doubt that evacuees are appreciative of the billets now found for them.

Sir L. Lyle

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that certain proprietors of seaside boarding houses have been summoned for alleged refusal to admit evacuees; that the smallness of the billeting allowances causes loss to such persons who earn their livelihood by boarding and lodging ordinary visitors; and whether he will issue an order that compulsory billeting powers shall not in future apply to persons thus earning their living in houses used for business purposes, but only to occupiers of private dwelling houses.

Mr. Willink

The answer to the first part of the Question is "Yes." In regard to the latter parts, I regret that I am unable to differentiate between one type of householder and another in the matter of their initial liability to be served with a billeting notice. If the presence of evacuees is felt to cause hardship in a particular case, it is open to the occupier concerned to lodge a complaint with the Billeting Tribunal set up under Defence Regulation 22.

Mr. Linstead

asked the Minister of Health whether his attention has been drawn to an advertisement appearing in the personal column of the "Daily Telegraph," on 21st July, in which a doctor offers to accept as paying guests a couple wishing to escape from the flying bomb; and whether he will arrange in all such cases, where residents in safe areas seek to exploit emergency conditions, for official evacuees to be billeted at the Government rate of payment.

Mr. Willink

If the address were published, or readily ascertainable, it would rest with the billeting officer of the area to take note of it.

Mr. Granville

asked the Secretary of State for War if he will make available for the evacuation of mothers and children some motor transport at present in part-time use by Italian prisoners of war.

Sir J. Grigg

Only a few small trucks are held at Italian Labour Camps. These are fully employed drawing rations and performing other essential services.