§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ 12.22 a.m.
§ The POSTMASTER-GENERAL (Sir Kingsley Wood)
I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."
I do not propose to detain the House for more than a few minutes on this Bill, which I will briefly explain. It is a Bill to enable the Postmaster-General to acquire a site which adjoins certain Post Office premises in King Edward VII Street in the City of London for the purpose of the more convenient accommodation of the Engineer-in-chief and his staff. The Engineer-in-chief of the Post Office and his staff are now housed in no less than seven other buildings. That system has proved exceedingly inconvenient and wasteful, and it is for that particular purpose that we propose to acquire this site, which adjoins the other Post Office buildings. When the site is acquired, 1977 we hope that it will be possible to use this accommodation for the Engineer-in-chief's Department for a number of years and for certain other requirements of the Post Office headquarters offices. The reason why we have to ask for this Bill is that there are a number of occupiers of the premises, and the number and varying character of their interests makes ft impossible to secure the site without compulsory powers.
The plans for the building have not yet been developed, but a rough estimate of the cost of the building is about £280,000, and the cost of the acquisition will probably amount to £155,000. The expenditure will be provided out of a Post Office loan and not by a money Vote of Parliament. On an annual basis the estimated cost of the proposed scheme, both site and building, is about £16,700. The new building will provide a larger amount of space than that which is at present occupied by the Engineer-in-chief, and on present day figures it is estimated that the rental value of this excess accommodation will be over £15,000 a year. Therefore, from a financial point of view, I think that the proposal is also a satisfactory one. It is my intention, if the Bill is given a Second Reading, to ask the House to refer it to a Select Committee, when the details can be further examined and any opposition or demands, or any protection which may be asked for, will be dealt with in the ordinary way.
§ Question, "That the Bill be now read a Second time," put, and agreed to.
§ Bill committed to a Select Committee of Seven Members, Four to be nominated by the House and Three by the Committee of Selection.
That all Petitions against the Bill, presented at any time not later than ten clear days after the Second Reading of the Bill, be referred to the Committee.
That Petitions against the Bill may be deposited in the Committee and Private Bill Office, provided that such Petitions shall have been prepared and signed in conformity with the Rules and Orders of this House relating to Petitions against Private Bills.
That the Committee have power to send for persons, papers, and records.
That Three be the quorum."—[Sir K. Wood.]