HC Deb 05 July 1949 vol 466 cc1955-6
39. Sir Waldron Smithers

asked the Lord President of the Council by what authority are £770,000 being spent on a fun fair in Battersea Park; and to what extent is the taxpayer involved.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. William Whiteley)

I have been asked to reply. A Supplementary Estimate covering the estimated expenditure of £770,000 on the Festival gardens in Battersea Park was presented on 29th June, and copies are available at the Vote Office today. The extent to which the taxpayer will be involved is dependent on negotiations now in progress with the London County Council, who expect to contribute a proportion of the total expenditure.

Sir W. Smithers

Will the right hon. Gentleman ask his right hon. Friend—to whom I put the Question and who I am sorry is not in his place—how, in view of the economic and financial crisis to which this Government have brought us, they can have the temerity to incur an expense of over three-quarters of a million pounds on a fun fair? Will he also ask the Lord President whether he will be there as an attraction, as an "Aunt Sally"?

Mr. Wilson Harris

Will the right hon. Gentleman do his best to prevent any hon. Member of this House from appearing in the "Prehistoric Peeps" section of that fair?

Captain Crookshank

How does the right hon. Gentleman propose to impress the gravity of our financial situation upon the people of this country if the Government are prepared to ask for sums for this purpose?

Mr. Whiteley

That may be all right in a Debate. I was simply asked a Question, and I have given the information in response to that Question.

Mr. Henry Strauss

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that this scheme threatens the characteristic beauty of Battersea Park, which largely depends on the uninterrupted simplicity of the grass acres along the river?

Mr. Berry

Is my right hon. Friend aware that this and other attractions will help to bring many foreign visitors to this country, and that these visitors will bring hard, currency, which is badly needed?

Commander Noble

Can the right hon. Gentleman say how much of Battersea Park will be used for this fair?

Mr. Whiteley

If the hon. and gallant Gentleman will put that question down we will give him the information.

Sir W. Smithers

On a point of Order. In view of the increase of squandermania on the part of the Government, I beg to give notice that I shall endeavour to raise the matter on the Adjournment at the earliest possible moment.