HC Deb 11 February 1947 vol 433 cc186-7
48. Sir Ralph Glyn

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that since various Government Departments have selected university towns and cities as regional headquarters, large demands are now made on accommodation normally used by students; and whether, in view of the need to encourage the training of students in arts and science and the increasing demand in applications, both from persons who have served in the Forces and from young people leaving school, he will consider with the appropriate Ministers the urgent necessity for finding alternative accommodation for civil servants and lay down a rule that Government Departments shall not select university towns and cities as regional headquarters.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Dalton)

I am anxious to do all I can to help the universities, but it is not possible to lay down so rigid a rule as the hon. baronet suggests.

Sir R. Glyn

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the difficulty experienced by people continuing their university courses? As long as these university centres are also selected by the Civil Service, does it not mean that the accommodation is thereby restricted and that university education cannot be given at the very time when we want it most?

Mr. Dalton

As I have said, I am very anxious to help the universities at this stage, and I keep myself informed, I hope, as to the difficulties. There is only one case in regard to which I have had an application for assistance, and that is from Cambridge. The other regional centres are nearly all in places where there is a university—Edinburgh, Cardiff, London, Newcastle, Leeds, Nottingham, Reading, Bristol, Birmingham and Manchester. There is a university in each of those. The only case where difficulty has been reported to me is the case of Cambridge. I am looking into that with every desire to assist. The East Anglian area is such that Cambridge is the indicated spot for the centre and it is difficult to put it anywhere else.

Mr. Wilson Harris

With a view to relieving this very serious situation, would the right hon. Gentleman consider the construction of a garden suburb on the outskirts of Cambridge for the accommodation of the Civil Service evacuees?

Mr. Dalton

We will consider any reasonable proposal that will help with this Cambridge problem.

Forward to