HC Deb 21 January 1924 vol 169 cc479-80

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies what proportion of the floor space of the new post office in Singapore is to be allotted to the Singapore Club; what is the estimated cost of that part of the new building which is to be so allotted; what rent is to be paid by the club for such accommodation; if he is in favour of the expenditure of public moneys by Colonial Governments upon the erection of private clubs; and will he consider the probable effect upon the Asiatic community of this preferential treatment of a club whose, membership is almost exclusively European?


The information desired by the hon. Member (which has already been communicated to him in a letter from the Colonial Office) is as follows: It is proposed to allocate about one-fifth of the total area to the Singapore Club; the estimated cost of the portion or the new building to be allocated to the club is $900,000: the club is to pay 3 per cent. on the cost of the building, and 5 per cent. on the cost of fittings as rent. The club has been in existence for over 50 years, and as it was being deprived by the Colonial Government of premises which it expected to occupy for a long period of years, it was felt that the Government should do what it could to assist it.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the three per cent. it is proposed to be charged, if you allow for the cost of depreciation and repairs, will be something under one per cent., and that this will involve a subsidy to the Singapore Club of something like £4,000 per annum, or £20 per member; whether he will reconsider his approval of a scheme which will involve such a scandalous misuse of public funds, and whether he is aware that under Council Paper 73 of 1922, the total estimated expenditure on the post office is six million dollars, of which one-third of the amount was to be allotted to the Singapore Club?


I would like to see that question on the Paper.


Will this new post office be required if the Singapore base be abandoned?


I cannot answer that question, but I will represent, it to my hon. Friend.