HC Deb 18 May 1943 vol 389 cc929-30
58. Lieut.-Colonel Macnamara

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works whether he is satisfied that the Palace of Westminster is receiving its electricity supply on the most favourable terms; what applications have in the past been made for a supply on a maximum demand basis; when, and how, did these negotiations conclude?

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

I am not satisfied with the terms for supply of electricity to the Palace of Westminster, and attempts have been made without success at intervals over a period of years to obtain more favourable treatment. A recent application for a revision of terms is still before the supply authority.

Lieut.-Colonel Macnamara

As this has been going on for many years, will my hon. Friend get his Ministry to take a much firmer line with the Central London Electricity undertaking?

Sir Herbert Williams

Is not this building so wired that if alternating current were supplied the system would break down? Is my hon. Friend aware that until the Office of Works rewire the building so that alternating current can be supplied the electricity company will have to have a special installation to supply this building alona?

Mr. Hicks

In reply to the hon. and gallant Gentleman, we will certainly press forward with all possible vigour. In reply to my hon. Friend the Member for South Croydon (Sir H. Williams), I have discussed this matter with him on previous occasions.

Sir H. Williams

Is not this building so inefficiently wired that they dare not put alternating current in the mains?

Mr. Hicks

I might have to come to the House for a considerable sum of money to change it.

Mr. Thorne

Have the Government considered the advisability of installing their own electricity plant?

Mr. De la Bère

Is it not a fact that nothing further was ever intended?