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Local Authorities (Civil Defence Arrangements)

Volume 526: debated on Thursday 15 April 1954

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many communications he has received from local authorities expressing concern at the inadequacy of existing Civil Defence arrangements in the light of recent developments; and what answers he has given.

The only communication of this kind which my right hon. and learned Friend has so far received is the one from Coventry, and the hon. Member has, no doubt, read the terms of the reply which has been made public.

I do not wish to condone the attitude of Coventry Council in banning all forms of Civil Defence, but it remains true that a great many local authorities are very concerned about what changes should be made in Civil Defence preparations in the light of the hydrogen bomb, and are very anxious to have authoritative guidance from the Home Office on this matter at an early date. Could the hon. Gentleman say what his Department is doing about it?

As my right hon. and learned Friend has said, and as I have said, the position is being reviewed in the light of the explosion of the hydrogen bomb, and my right hon. and learned Friend has promised to make a statement to the House.

Is the Under-Secretary aware that many local authorities are dissatisfied with the present method of organisation? Perhaps he will recall that the Medway area would like to be its own authority. Because it is not it has not that enthusiasm for recruiting Civil Defence volunteers which local responsibilty would encourage.

I hope that when my right hon. and learned Friend has made a statement any such feeling will disappear.