Oral Answers to Questions — National Fire Service, Liverpool

– in the House of Commons on 17th November 1942.

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Photo of Captain Bertie Kirby Captain Bertie Kirby , Liverpool Everton

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that complaints have been made as to the inadequacy of comforts and amenities in stations of the National Fire Service in the Liverpool area; that a request by the Liverpool Trades Council to send a visiting delegation to the stations has been rejected by the Regional Commissioner through the local fire force commander; and whether, in order to investigate complaints made, he will allow the Liverpool Trades Council to appoint a small number of their members to visit the stations for the purpose of making an impartial investigation?

Photo of Miss Ellen Wilkinson Miss Ellen Wilkinson , Jarrow

Yes, Sir. An inspection of stations in the Liverpool Area, which were considered by the Fire Brigades Union to be unsatisfactory, was made recently by representatives of' the Regional Commissioner and the Union, and measures are being taken to effect any necessary improvments as quickly as possible. In the circumstances my right hon. Friend cannot see that any useful purpose would be served by a further inspection by an organisation which has no responsibility for the conditions of service in the National Fire Service. He regrets, therefore, that he is unable to comply with my hon. Friend's suggestion.

Photo of Captain Bertie Kirby Captain Bertie Kirby , Liverpool Everton

Is my hon. Friend aware that the Liverpool Trades Council have made the request because of the agitation by men serving in the Fire Service—in other words, that it comes from the men in the Service?

Photo of Miss Ellen Wilkinson Miss Ellen Wilkinson , Jarrow

I have read the whole of the report of the Trades Council meeting. As my hon. Friend knows, the Fire Service have taken over a rather grim legacy from the local authorities in many areas, and we have to put things right as quickly as we can.

Photo of Captain Bertie Kirby Captain Bertie Kirby , Liverpool Everton

Will the hon. Lady give this matter further consideration?

Photo of Miss Ellen Wilkinson Miss Ellen Wilkinson , Jarrow

There is no need for further consideration. The matter has been considered and is being put right.

Photo of Mr Rhys Davies Mr Rhys Davies , Westhoughton

Is my hon. Friend suggesting that the Home Office is supporting the Regional Commissioner against representation from the Liverpool Trades Council visiting institutions in their own city? Is she aware that if the Fire Service had still been municipally owned Trades Council representatives would probably have been welcomed by the city authorities to visit any of their premises?

Photo of Miss Ellen Wilkinson Miss Ellen Wilkinson , Jarrow

I think my hon. Friend has misunderstood. Inspections were carried out not only by the representatives of the Regional Commissioner but by the trade union representing these men, and on this matter the Trades Council has no locus standi.