HC Deb 22 October 1941 vol 374 c1772
35. Mr. R. J. Taylor

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works and Buildings whether he will make a statement concerning the steps he has taken to improve the acoustics of the Chamber?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works and Buildings (Mr. Hicks)

I presume that I am anticipating the wishes of the House if I speak up in answering this Question. I had the benefit of advice from officials of the National Physical Laboratory, and measures recommended by them were carried out during the recent Recess. The work involved fixing absorbent tiles in the windows, glass silk quilting in the panels at the south end of the Chamber and a sounding board over the Press Gallery. If hon. Members will make a point of addressing their remarks to the Chair it should be found that a considerable improvement has taken place. The technical problems presented are, however, extremely difficult, and it is to be doubted whether they can be completely solved.

Mr. Hannah

Will the present arrangements, such as the sounding board, be permanent or temporary?

Mr. Hicks

They will remain until something more effective is found.

Mr. Higgs

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that members of the Press Gallery at times have considerable difficulty in hearing Members' speeches, and often their reports are not fully published?

Mr. George Griffiths

Is it not because some Members are too idle to speak up?