Oral Answers to Questions — Fire-Guards (Amending Order).

– in the House of Commons on 4th August 1942.

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Photo of Mr Robert Morrison Mr Robert Morrison , Tottenham North

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Depart- ment whether he is aware that there are men who are not performing either are guard duty or other part-time National Service; what steps he proposes to take to remedy this matter; and whether the number of additional Fire Guards so obtainable is likely to make good existing deficiencies?

Photo of Miss Ellen Wilkinson Miss Ellen Wilkinson , Jarrow

Yes, Sir. It is the intention of my right hon. Friend to remedy these defects by directing that supplementary registration should be held under the Compulsory Enrolment Order. An Order amending that Order and containing this and other provisions to the same end will be issued within the next few days. I do not expect that the additional Fire Guards so obtainable will be sufficient to make good existing deficiencies, and other remedies are being examined.

Photo of Mr Frederick Montague Mr Frederick Montague , Islington West

Will my hon. Friend put that answer in plain English?

Photo of Miss Ellen Wilkinson Miss Ellen Wilkinson , Jarrow

I am afraid it is a bit technical. What we mean is that a lot of people did not for various reasons register on the appointed day. We tried to catch these people under Regulation 29BA, under which any man of these ages could be directed to perform duties. That did not work as well as we thought it would, and the Minister of Labour and the Home Secretary have now agreed to have a supplementary registration. This will catch all those people who should have registered and bring them under the new supplementary Order.

Photo of Mr Thomas Naylor Mr Thomas Naylor , Southwark South East

Are any penalties to be imposed for failure to comply?

Photo of Miss Ellen Wilkinson Miss Ellen Wilkinson , Jarrow

No, Sir, because quite a lot of the people who will be brought in were legitimately out of the previous Order. There were people who were not in their homes at the time of the registration and others who had not reached the ages. There were so many different reasons for not registering that it is impossible to sort out those who might come under penalties. It is much better to say, "Will you please all come in because it is urgent?"

Photo of Sir Frederick Messer Sir Frederick Messer , Tottenham South

Will those who have permanent exemption have to register?