HC Deb 29 October 1946 vol 428 cc431-2
17. Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

asked the Minister of Works who applied to his Department in the first place for the installation of extra wash basins in the house of the Chairman of the Coal Board; and under what powers his Department overruled the refusal of the local authority to grant a licence for these additional amenities.

18. Mr. Marples

asked the Minister of Works why he authorised the fitting of wash basins into all the bedrooms in the house of Lord Hyndley after the Chelsea Town Council had refused a licence for this work on the ground that the material and labour were urgently needed for more deserving cases; and whether he notified the Chelsea Town Council of his authorisation.

Mr. Tomlinson

I would refer the hon. Members in the first place to the reply given to the hon. Member for Orpington (Sir W. Smithers) on 8th October. The application was made by the Hon. Elizabeth Hyndley. I would add that under Defence Regulation 56A the granting of licences rests with the Minister of Works, and that the local authority who act as my agents were informed of my decision

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Is the right hon. Gentleman's answer meant to indicate to local authorities that it is the policy of the Government to give priority to the provision of luxuries for senior officials rather than of housing for the homeless, and that they will be overruled if they do not follow this line?

Mr. Tomlinson

The answer is not intended to convey that. The Minister's answer is that he took responsibility for allowing this to be done on the plea accepted that it was required for a very necessary purpose.

Mr. Marples

Will the Minister state how many wash basins were installed in order to see that the Chairman of the Coal Board was adequately washed?

Mr. Tomlinson

I could not give the numbers, but in view of the publicity given to it I would like to say that the original licence asked for amounted to some £500, but the licence granted amounted to £132.

Mr. Piratin

Does not the Minister think that this is an admirable case to prove the need for better cooperation between the regional licensing authorities and the local authorities as he is aware that the local authorities very often turn down requests and the regional authorities grant them?

Mr. Tomlinson

That closer cooperation and collaboration is now not only being sought but is in operation.