HC Deb 22 February 1951 vol 484 cc1441-3
26. Mr. Black

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many volunteers have been enrolled to the nearest convenient date for the Civil Defence services; and how many more volunteers are needed to bring these services up to strength.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Geoffrey de Freitas)

At the end of January the number of volunteers in England and Wales was, in round figures: 110,000 in the Civil Defence Corps, 9,000 in the Auxiliary Fire Service, and 12,000 in the National Hospital Service Reserve, making a total of about 131,000. To bring the services up to their provisional peace-time establishment we require 360,000 more in the Civil Defence Corps, 51,000 more in the Auxiliary Fire Service, and 18,000 more in the National Hospital Service Reserve.

Mr. Black

Is the hon. Gentleman satisfied with the present rate of recruiting; and, on the basis of the present rate of recruiting, is it possible to form any estimate of when the service will reach full strength?

Mr. de Freitas

The present rate is at about 12,000 a month, and I am certainly not satisfied with it. I hope it will increase, and I therefore should not like to make an estimate because any estimate would be based on the present figures.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that many prospective volunteers gave full-time service during the war and are discouraged by the knowledge that they would have to go through a whole series of elementary classes in Civil Defence? It is having a very deleterious effect on recruitment.

Mr. de Freitas

That point has been noted, and I hope to make a statement on that aspect of it in a couple of weeks' time.

Brigadier Prior-Palmer

Will the hon. Gentleman also inquire into what happens when these people enlist, as there is a great deal of complaint about the way in which they are treated? Is he aware that they do nothing, that their time is wasted, and will he go into that aspect?

Mr. de Freitas


37. Mr. Wallace

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the strength of the Civil Defence Corps and the Auxiliary Fire Service on 31st January, 1951; and how many recruits joined the Corps and Fire Service, respectively, during the month of January.

Mr. de Freitas

In England and Wales during January 11,300 recruits joined the Civil Defence Corps, bringing the strength at the end of the month to 110,200; and 900 recruits joined the Auxiliary Fire Service, bringing the strength at the end of the month to 8,800. I will circulate the detailed figures for the Civil Defence Corps in HANSARD.

Region Increase during January, 1951 Total strength at 31st January, 1951 Strength per thousand of population
Eastern 1,321 12,160 4.02
Southern 1,233 9,980 3.78
South Eastern 1,128 9,024 3.55
South Western 1,653 10,409 3.46
Northern 725 7,480 2.39
Wales 570 5,868 2.27
Midland 936 9,940 2.26
North Western 1,201 13,949 2.19
North Midland 539 7,382 2.16
London 1,157 17,069 2.03
North Eastern 797 6,893 1.69
11,260 110,154 Average for England and Wales 2.53