HC Deb 23 October 1908 vol 194 cc1487-8

To ask the First Commissioner of Works, whether he is aware that workmen are being discharged from the Works Department at the Law Courts and Somerset House, although there is a considerable amount of work in hand, on the ground that the money voted for the work is exhausted; and whether, in view of the number of unemployed workmen, he can see his way to approach the Treasury to secure a further grant so that the work in hand hand may be completed, and at the same time find employment for more men.

(Answered by Mr. Harcourt.) In regard to the Law Courts, works of alteration and also of general overhaul and repair, such as painting, etc., can only be carried out during the vacation when the building is unoccupied. An accumulation of work has, therefore, to be done within a comparatively short time, and more men are necessarily employed for that time than can be retained during the rest of the year. The new staircase is still in course of erection, and the extension of the Courts, which will be commenced immediately, will give employment to a number of men. In regard to Somerset House, the external painting has been completed recently; it is work which can only be done during good weather. No works at either building have been suspended for want of funds; the only works for which the money voted is exhausted are the works which have been completed. At both buildings a considerable number of men are engaged upon the ordinary maintenance work which continues throughout the year.