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National Fire Service Buildings

Volume 393: debated on Wednesday 3 November 1943

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asked the Home Secretary what expenditure has been authorised for the erection of buildings for the N.F.S. in London and the provinces, respectively; what extra staff has been employed and at what cost; whether in all cases there has been prior consultation with the local authorities concerned in view of their town planning schemes; and whether undertakings have been given that these buildings will be removed at the end of the war unless required by the local authorities for their resumed fire services?

The execution of the National Fire Service building programme has been largely decentralised, and much of the work has been carried out by local authorities, whose accounts, as a result of war conditions, are submitted for re-imbursement at varying intervals after the expenditure has been incurred. More-over, the character of the work is such that it would be impossible to distinguish the cost of new building and the cost of improvements of existing premises without an inordinate amount of labour and research. It is estimated, however, that the expenditure authorised for the erection of buildings is something of the order of £2,000,000. As regards, staff, apart from the use which has been made of the technical officers of local authorities and of members of the National Fire Service itself, the work has been undertaken by the technical staff of my Department; for this purpose 17 additional technical officers have been appointed, at a total annual cost of approximately £7,450. As regards consultation with local authorities in view of their town planning schemes, I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer given yesterday to his Question on this subject by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Town and Country Planning. No general undertaking has been given with regard to the disposal of National Fire Service emergency buildings after the war, some of these buildings will serve a useful purpose, at any rate on an interim footing, in the post-war period, but the great majority obviously serve only temporary purposes and will have to be removed as soon as possible after the need for them has passed.