asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether he will reconsider the claim for payment of grant for an air-raid shelter made by a company, particulars of which have been sent to him, as, although the shelter was not erected within the prescribed three months of the Civil Defence (Specified Areas) (No. 2) Order, this was due to evacuation and the consequent reduction in the staff; that they erected a shelter as soon as their employees approximated 50; and whether, in view of the financial difficulties of the company, he will take into account these special circumstances and decide in their favour?
I am aware that the company provided an air-raid shelter as soon as their staff totalled approximately 50 persons. It is, however, an indispensable precedent to the payment of grant that the shelter should be provided, or preparatory measures taken for its provision, within three months from the date of specification of the area in which it is situated, and I regret that I cannot authorise any departure from this rule.
Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that, if this company had taken action earlier, it might have led to a great waste of public money and that the reason they did not take action earlier was not any fault of theirs?
I am not aware of the last point, but the rule is there, and I do not think that I should depart from it, otherwise I should be in difficulties in a large number of other cases.
The responsibility for considering applications for indoor table shelters from the residents of areas in which such shelters have been made available, rests with the local authorities. Sufficient shelters to cover all approved applications have been allocated to the local authorities concerned and the supply so far has kept pace with the demand.