The standard generally observed in billeting evacuated persons is on the basis of one person per habitable room. It may have been necessary to exceed this standard as a temporary measure but redistribution from overcrowded districts is now taking place. Local authorities in the receiving areas have been instructed to set up welfare committees to supervise the general welfare of evacuated children and see that they are not left in homes found to be unsuitable.
Will the right hon. Gentleman consider placing the control of the activities in connection with evacuees in the reception areas into the hands of the county councils as many of the smaller authorities have not the resources for looking after them properly?
At the moment I should be unwilling to introduce any new reorganisation of the machine because it might throw confusion into its working. It is working under a great strain at present and we need to examine it in the light of experience.
When the right hon. Gentleman says one person per habitable room, is that on the basis of two children of various ages counting for one as in the overcrowding regulations?
asked the Minister of Health whether any co-ordination has taken place in arranging military billeting and the housing of evacuees in the reception areas, and, if not, whether care can be taken to see that evacuees are removed from towns which may reasonably be considered to be military objectives?
Steps have been taken to ensure that the arrangements made for the reception of evacuated persons should not interfere with military billeting requirements and vice versa. The relatively limited amount of accommodation available makes it impossible to avoid sending evacuated persons to towns in which troops are also billeted, but all the areas selected for reception are believed to offer a much better chance of safety than the areas from which the evacuated persons have been removed.
My information is that there is no general feeling that the allowances payable to householders for evacuated children are inadequate. It has been represented to me that there are certain anomalies in the principle of a flat rate, and I am having this looked into.
Will my right hon. Friend make it clear that the maintenance arrangement does not include a free meal for the father and mother on Sunday when they are visiting their children?
I regret that the difficulties involved would make it impracticable to operate such a concession. Moreover, if such a postage concession were granted similar claims would be received from other groups who feel that they are equally entitled to special consideration. The Post Office could not undertake the task of discriminating between such claims.