HC Deb 20 January 1943 vol 386 cc199-200
39. Sir Irving Albery

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works and Planning, in view of the many large houses in the London area, at present unoccupied owing to shortage of domestic help and other reasons, whether he will consider, where possible, transferring Government offices from blocks of flats to accommodation which cannot at present be used for housing purposes?

Mr. Hicks

The blocks of flats acquired by my Department for office purposes are mainly of the larger type commanding substantial rents before the war. The release of these flats it is considered would not be of material assistance, as I am advised that the present demand is for the smaller and therefore less expensive flats. Moreover, the suggested transfer would involve a serious loss of efficiency and disturbance, which could not be contemplated by the Departments concerned. My Department has not overlooked the possibilities of utilising large houses for office purposes, and has recently acquired a substantial number of vacant houses in London. A single house provides too small a unit of office space and those acquired have, therefore, been in blocks.

Sir I. Albery

Is the Minister aware that some of the flats which he has commandeered are flats which let at medium rents and that the high rents being asked for flats are largely due to the number of flats he has commandeered?

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