HC Deb 16 July 1946 vol 425 cc1029-31
22. Mr. Heathcoat Amory

asked the Minister of Works whether, in view of the hardship falling on owners of requisitioned hotels and boarding houses who cannot tell when they will be enabled to resume their prewar livelihood, he will set some time limit to the occupation of such premises requisitioned during the war.

Mr. Tomlinson

Statutory time limits for the operation of the powers under which premises are held on requisition are laid down by the Requisitioned Land and War Works Act and the Supplies and Services (Transitional Powers) Acts, 1945. It is, however, the policy of His Majesty's Government to release hotels and boarding houses as soon as practicable, and more than three quarters of all the hotels and boarding houses held on requisition by Government Departments on 1st January, 1945, have already been released. Owners are given as long notice as possible of the date on which their premises will be derequisitioned, to enable them to make their plans.

Mr. Amory

Does not the right hon. Gentleman feel that the present position is one of real injustice, seeing that these people get no compensation whatever for loss of goodwill and profits, and that many of them who have their capital locked up in these properties are unable to resume their livelihood elsewhere?

Mr. Tomlinson

It is for that reason that we attempted to meet them by releasing the premises as speedily as possible and giving the owners notice of the fact in advance.

25. Sir W. Wakefield

asked the Minister of Works if he is aware that 62–64, Baker Street, and 81, 83, and 85, Baker Street, are modern office buildings, let on lease to the Government and have now been empty for several months; and, in view of the urgent need for office accommodation in St. Marylebone, if he will either use these buildings or make them available for many export and business houses in urgent need of office accommodation.

Mr. Tomlinson

These buildings have now been allocated to the Central Office of Information and will shortly be occupied.

Sir W. Wakefield

Will the Minister consider how delays of this kind, involving many months, can be avoided; and is he aware that there is real resentment among people when they see large blocks of offices vacant which are needed for housing and for the export drive?

Mr. Tomlinson

The solution to the problem of houses or offices of this kind is not as simple as it appears on the surface. These offices have been held for the purpose of releasing what hon. Members have been asking to be released for a long time, namely, the University buildings in which the Ministry of Information was housed.

Mr. Wilson Harris

Does the right hon. Gentleman mean that these houses will house the whole of the Central Office of Information, or are other premises to be used as well?

Mr. Tomlinson

I cannot say without looking into the matter.

Mr. De la Bère

The usual mess and muddle will follow.

27. Mr. Butcher

asked the Minister of Works the buildings and the approximate superficial area of space in the Central London and Whitehall area now occupied by the Ministry of Fuel and Power and Ministry of Transport, respectively, together with the approximate number of employees housed in each building.

Mr. Tomlinson

Since the answer is long and consists of a table of figures, I will, with permission, send it to the hon. Member.

Mr. Butcher

Will the right hon. Gentleman circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT?

Mr. Tomlinson

Yes, Sir.

Following is the answer: The total net area of accommodation occupied by clerical staff is approximately 168,000 f. s. in the case of the Ministry of Fuel and Power and 327,000 f. s., of the Ministry of Transport.

The following are the buildings and the number of staff in each:

Ministry of Fuel and Power
Premises. Staff at 1.7.46
Westminster House 526
Cromwell House 149
Kings Buildings 281
Queen Anne's Chambers 66
2, Little Smith Street 33
Chapter Street House 20
Sheil Mex House 11
18–23, 29–40, Upper Brook Street 328
Total 1,414
Ministry of Transport. Staff at1.6.46
Berkeley Square House, Berkeley Square 1,964
Mayfair Court, Stratton Street 155
Fitzmaurice Place, Berkeley Square 283
Devonshire House, Piccadilly 208
Morris House, Berkeley Square 102
Northgate, Regents Park 587
Total 3,199