61. Mr. David Adams
asked the Minister of Health whether his attention has been drawn to the results of an inquiry showing that, whereas some counties, acting as receiving areas, have sustained an increase in their population to the extent of about 30 per cent., other counties, equally suitable for reception, have increased 10 per cent. or less; and whether he will take steps to ensure that evacuees shall be evenly spread among available reception areas in the interests alike of safety and comfort?
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Miss Horsbrugh)
The pre-war density of occupation per habitable room differed widely in different parts of the country, and the percentage increase in population cannot therefore be taken as a guide to the amount of spare accommodation. My right hon. Friend is concerned to ensure that evacated persons are distributed as evenly as possible over the available accommodation, but it must be borne in mind that some accommodation must be reserved for towns which have not yet been heavily attacked.
Is the Minister aware that in reception counties where there has been an increase of up to 35 per cent. in popu- 433 lation there are complaints of overcrowding? Surely, there ought to be better distribution of population in reception counties generally?
§ Miss Horsbrugh
I think the hon. Member will agree that it is impossible in wartime to have an even distribution of population throughout this country. Therefore, my right hon. Friend is watching very carefully to see that when evacuees are sent to any particular district there is adequate accommodation for them.