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Civil Defence

Volume 978: debated on Monday 11 February 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, further to his reply to the hon. Member for Rugby on 24 January on the protection for the public in time of war, he will now take steps to (a) advise the public on protection that can be taken now, and (b) ensure that local authorities have prepared plans for a speedy and efficient evacuation of women and children from the cities to the country, designate reception areas for their use, and ensure that appropriate stocks of essentials are available for their use.

Most houses in this country offer a reasonable degree of protection against radioactive fallout from nuclear explosions, and protection can be substantially improved by a series of quite simple do-it-yourself measures. The material is ready now for an intensive publicity campaign if war should threaten. There may well be advantage in offering more advice to the public in normal times, and this is one of the matters we are considering in the current review of home defence arrangements. This will cover all aspects of public protection, including evacuation.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in view of an increase in international tension if he is yet in a position to give details of the review undertaken on civil defence; and if he will make a statement.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make the booklet "Protect and Survive" widely and freely available to members of the public.

As I explained in reply to a question by my hon. Friend the Member for Renfrewshire East (Mr. Stewart) on 1 February, this is one of the matters being examined as part of my current review of home defence arrangements.—[Vol 977, c. 820.]