asked the Home Secretary whether children at elementary schools will be supplied with one gas-mask for home and another for school, or whether it will be necessary for the mask to be carried from one place to the other; and if so, whether receptacles will be provided?
All school children will be provided, in emergency, by the Government with respirators which they will carry with them to and from school. Containers will be provided.
Various aspects of the problem of transferring persons from areas which are likely to be exposed to continuous air attack, including the plans said to be in contemplation in other countries, have been examined by the Home Office. With the purpose of bringing the subject under full review, I have invited the right hon. Member for the Scottish Universities (Sir J. Anderson) and the hon. Members for South-West Bethnal Green (Sir P. Harris), Balham (Mr. Doland), and North Islington (Dr. Guest) to serve on a committee which will assist me in the preparation of plans. While this committee will, no doubt, begin its work on the problem of London, it will have in mind the application of its plans to other big centres of population.
I think it is best to begin with the most difficult part of the problem—the problem of London. If we find a satisfactory solution of the London problem, we shall be able to apply it to other big cities.
My right hon. Friend will be happy to arrange for a course of instructional lectures and is inquiring through the usual channels as to the arrangements that will be most convenient to hon. Members.
asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that many of those who offer themselves for training as air-raid precautions volunteers are required to undertake considerable outlay of cash quite apart from necessary personal expenses, in order to secure training, and that this outlay is demanded for books, training fees, equipment, and examination fees; and whether, as this is totally contrary to the spirit of the air-raid precautions service, he will take immediate steps to stop. this?
It is intended that all training should be provided free for persons who are enrolled as members of public air-raid precautions services. Where they have individually incurred expenses, after enrolment, of the kind mentioned, it would be proper for the local authority concerned to repay them. My right hon. Friend is making arrangements which, I hope, will obviate the continuance of any such difficulties with the type of training in which it is most likely to have arisen, namely, training for first-aid services.
asked the Home Secretary whether the figures of 400,000 which he gave in his broadcast on 23rd May as the present total of air-raid precautions volunteers is based on returns from local authorities; to what date does the figure refer; and whether he will now state the exact official figure of the numbers of air-raid precautions volunteers who have been enrolled throughout the country?
The number quoted by my right hon. Friend is an approximate estimate, based on figures collected from a number of representative authorities, of the present position. As the House has been informed, arrangements have been made for returns from local authorities of the full position, and the first of these returns will be available about the middle of next month.
A.R.P. Memorandum No. 4, issued early last year, on the subject of air-raid wardens, stated that it was proposed to invest them with certain simple powers in time of emergency, but further examination of the position suggests that they will probably be able to carry out their functions without being invested with any special powers.
Does that mean that any suggestion that legislation will be introduced in the event of war breaking out to invest these persons with powers will not be implemented?
Air-raid wardens and head wardens are appointed by local authorities, as a part of the measures they take in preparing general precaution schemes under the Air Raid Precautions Act, 1937.
Yes, Sir. Certain suggested schemes of organisation were forwarded to local authorities, but the responsibility is theirs. If they wish to adopt a different form of organisation which they think is better suited to their local needs, they can do so.