For more than two years past local authorities in the more vulnerable areas have had authority to incur expenditure in providing air-raid shelter at nursing homes controlled by public authorities or private charities and catering primarily for persons whose financial position would make them eligible for free domestic shelter. The extent to which it is now possible to continue these facilities depends entirely on the availability in the locality concerned of the requisite labour and materials. The provision of air-raid shelter in a private nursing home run for profit is a matter for the proprietor. In suitable cases, it is open to the proprietor to avail himself of a scheme instituted early in 1940 under which the professional Institutions of Architects, Engineers and Surveyors arranged for the services of consultants to be placed, for moderate fees, at the disposal of householders needing technical advice about shelter.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that there are no legal means of enforcing the adoption of these essential precautions, and in view of the fact that a nursing home may have a large number of people left at night without a single male in attendance, will he consider taking such steps as may be necessary to enforce the adoption of precautions?
For fire-prevention purposes nursing homes are regarded as business premises and the occupier is bound to make adequate fire-prevention arrangements and to submit those arrangements to the local authority for approval.