§ 42. Mr. O. NICHOLSON
asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware of the strong objections on the part of his staff to the use of the basement of the 496 Ministry for office purposes; whether he is aware that this part of the building was never intended for the purpose; that, as the basement is situated at the bottom of a deep well, it is impossible for any sunlight to penetrate; that work is only carried on in very dirty and depressing conditions; that the vaults, which are on the floor below the basement, were recently flooded with what was thought to be sewage, with the result that large quantities of chlorine had to be used, the smell making the conditions of the staff almost unbearable; and if he will consider whether the time has arrived to put an end to carrying out work in such unsuitable premises?
§ The FIRST COMMISSIONER of WORKS (Mr. Jowett)
I have been asked to reply. I am aware that complaints have been made regarding the basement accommodation occupied by part of the Ministry of Health staff, but arrangements have been made to improve the ventilation and repaint the rooms. Whatever defects exist are common to all basements, and it is impossible at present to exclude basements from office accommodation. The flooding to which my hon. Friend refers was entirely due to a recent abnormally heavy fall of rain, ninny other buildings in the neighbourhood being similarly affected. A small amount of sewage was forced back into the building, and in the interests of the health of the staff the vaults were disinfected immediately the water had subsided. No chlorine was used.