HC Deb 22 July 1929 vol 230 cc908-9
69. Mr. W. J. BROWN

asked the First Commissioner of Works whether he is aware that certain staffs in the Office of Works and the Ministry of Health are obliged to work in sub-basements and basements much below ground level and lit in the main by artificial light; that it is now proposed also to put Board of Trade staffs in these basements, and that the Chief Medical Officer of the Ministry of Health has reported adversely on the use of these basements for this purpose; and whether he will provide alternative accommodation and so avoid the employment of the staff under these conditions?


A small number of staff work, during part of the day only, in the sub-basement, which is lit by artificial light. Other staffs work in the basement courts which enjoy good natural light, and it is proposed to utilise other similar courts for Board of Trade staffs. I am informed that the Chief Medical Officer of the Ministry of Health has not reported adversely on the use of the basement, but, on the contrary, this officer and an officer of the Medical Research Council reported that, subject to the execution of certain works, the basement courts were quite suitable for occupation by clerical staffs. Effect has been given to the recommendations of these officers. Under ordinary circumstances, I should prefer that all staffs worked above the ground level, but at present we have no other available accommodation. My hon. Friend may be assured that everything possible has been done, and will continue to be done, to keep these offices as light, airy and healthy as possible.


Is there any prospect within a reasonable time of Montagu House site and the site in Whitehall where the Treasury now stands being utilised for the erection of really adequate public buildings?