HC Deb 28 May 1946 vol 423 cc962-4
8. Sir G. Fox

asked the Minister of Works how many scaffolding poles then; are at present in situ up the Victoria Tower; how many years they have been erected and not been made use of; if he will use prisoner-of-war labour to remove these, erect stands in the streets from the material for the public to view the parade on Victory Day and then re-erect the poles on the Victoria Tower; and, if he will give an estimate of how many seats this would provide.

Mr. Tomlinson

There is approximately a 120,000 feet run of steel scaffold poles on the Victoria Tower. The scaffolding, which is about half of that erected in 1937, has since been in use for the continuation of the stone restoration work on a small scale. It would not be practicable to use prisoners of war to dismantle and re-erect the scaffolding, which could only be done by skilled scaffolders and I regret, therefore, that I am not prepared to adopt the hon. Member's proposal.

Sir G. Fox

Could not the Government give the public the greater opportunity of seeing His Majesty's Ministers in this parade?

Mr. Tomlinson

Not via this scaffolding.

9. Sir G. Fox

asked the Minister of Works what arrangements he is making for the floodlighting of the Royal Parks during the Victory celebrations; and if he will continue the floodlighting for a fortnight to enable those visiting London before and after the celebrations to enjoy them.

Mr. Tomlinson

St. James's Park lake will be floodlit from 10 p.m. to midnight on the nights of 8th June to 15th June inclusive. A number of fountains, water falls, etc., will be temporarily installed to enhance the effect. In view of the continued need for the conservation of fuel, I do not propose to extend the period of floodlighting.

24. Mrs. Castle

asked the Minister of Works whether he will arrange for representatives of the war disabled to be given special accommodation for viewing the victory parade.

Mr. Tomlinson

Yes, Sir. Special accommodation has already been reserved for representatives of the war disabled to view the victory parade.

25. Mr. Vernon Bartlett

asked the Minister of Works why the fireworks displays to be given in connection with the forthcoming London victory celebrations were not put out to tender; and why one of the directors of the firm which is to supply these fireworks is a member of the River Pageant Committee which is arranging them.

Mr. Tomlinson

It was not practicable to invite competitive tenders for this display. It was, therefore, decided to entrust the work to a firm having the experience and manufacturing facilities necessary for a display on the scale contemplated. The firm was invited to join the committee after the contract had been awarded to them so that the fireworks could be coordinated with the rest of the display.

Mr. Bartlett

Could the right hon. Gentleman say when the decision was made; because I understand the gentleman in question has been a member of the committee since March? May I at the same time ask the right hon. Gentleman to accept my apology if I have unjustifiably drawn attention to what appeared to be an abuse, which I know he would be the first man in this House to deplore?

Mr. Tomlinson

I can assure the hon. Member that there is no question of abuse. It was just a question of prac- ticability, and the firm in question were not invited to join the committee until after this matter had been decided.