20 OCTOBER 1939, Page 20


Sit,—In your issue of October 13th a "News of the Week" paragraph under the above heading was so misleading that perhaps you will allow me to say something by way of correction.

Referring to local emergency air-raid precautions corn- minces, it was stated that "duties, which in normal times have belonged to the local councils, have increasingly been taken over by these new committees of irresponsible officials who are not answerable to any elected body." Further, it was sug- gested that "as far as possible the councils ought to continue to conduct their work in respect of education, health, trans- port, &c., and so far as duties are taken over by officials of the A.R.P. committees, these should be under council control."

Nothing could be further from the facts than the state- ment and suggestion so made. The Emergency Committees which local authorities have been asked to appoint as part of their war-time administrative machinery do not consist of irresponsible officials, but of a small number of members of the council. It has been made clear that •the committees should be kept fully informed by the A.R.P. Controller, who is himself appointed by the Council, of all communications received from higher authority and that, unless instructions are of such urgency as to call for immediate action, they should be reported to the committee prior to execution.

Further, the Emergency Committees have been appointed by their several authorities for the specific purpose of dealing with matters of Civil Defence—i.e., air-raid precautions duties and, if so delegated, certain fire brigade duties, and

there has at no time been any suggestion that councils should not continue their normal administration, so far as is possible, of other services.—I am, Sir, yours faithfully,

R. S. WOOD, Public Relations Branch, Ministry of Home Security, Whitehall, S.W. I.