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Industrial Establishments

Volume 480: debated on Thursday 9 November 1950

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when instructions may be expected as to Civil Defence arrangements necessary in industrial establishments and also as to the relationship between the Civil Defence personnel of such establishments and the adjacent local government area, namely, whether any personnel who are local residents would be available for local Civil Defence duties.

We are working out plans with representatives of both sides of industry. I cannot yet say when an announcement will be made.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that it is very necessary, if Civil Defence is to be got on with, that these plans should be announced and put into execution very soon indeed? Would he, if I gave him information about a certain very large industrial establishment where practically all the neighbourhood is occupied by its employees, try to realise how very necessary it is that there should be some demarcation to show whether local defence inside the factory and outside the factory is to be regarded as one—or how it is to be regarded?

There is no need for any delay. Men and women can come forward and join the local authority Civil Defence organisation, because it is there that they will receive their training.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that that is exactly what is causing the delay? Nearly all the people outside the factory are employed inside the factory, and they will not come forward until they know what the arrangements are to be for the factory.

I would remind the hon. and gallant Gentleman that, meanwhile, if they come forward, they can go through their training. When this scheme is set up they will then be trained, ready to join the scheme.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that a number of large industrial establishments in Birmingham and in the Midlands, and no doubt in the rest of the country, have the required skill, directing personnel and labour staff, but cannot do anything?

The representatives of the Federation of British Industries and of the Trades Union Congress, who are working out these plans, are well aware of that.