HC Deb 20 March 1951 vol 485 cc2281-4
24. Mr. Shepherd

asked the Minister of Works the total amount which the Government has committed itself to pay since the end of the war to owners of new buildings erected for occupation by Government Departments; and whether this amount is included in the figures published in the Economic Survey.

Mr. Stokes

On the 48 buildings to which my Department is already committed, the liability to charge on public funds amounts to a total annual rental of just over £1 million and a capital expenditure of about £750,000 on occupational fittings. Other capital expenditure is the responsibility of the lessors and not a commitment on public funds, although an estimate of the amount is included in the figures for capital investment on Government building published in the Economic Surveys.

27. Mr. Keeling

asked the Minister of Works how many square feet of floor space in privately-owned premises are now under requisition for Government office use; and how many square feet of floor space are under construction for such use.

Mr. Stokes

My Department held 6,348,000 square feet of accommodation on requisition for office purposes at the end of 1950. Approximately 3,157,000 square feet of office accommodation is under construction by my Department or by private developers for lease to my Department.

Mr. Keeling

Can the Minister say what sort of premises there is no hope of de-requisitioning? Is it hotels, houses or what?

Mr. Stokes

A little bit of both.

38. Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

asked the Minister of Works whether the licences he granted in 1950 amounting to £4,394,000 for building offices to be let to the Government have been reviewed in relation to the defence programme and civilian housing.

Mr. Stokes

As I informed the hon. and gallant Member in my reply to his Question on 30th January last. I consider it would be unreasonable to cancel licences once they have been granted and the developer has made his arrangements, save in the most exceptional circumstances. I understand that all this work-has in fact been started.

Lieut-Colonel Lipton

Is my right hon. Friend completely satisfied that the substantial building programme which he has so generously authorised will have no adverse effect on what I hope he will agree is the urgent need of civilian building and the defence programme?

Mr. Stokes

I am surprised at my hon. and gallant Friend. He is constantly complaining to me that I am mean about it. I cannot be both mean and generous at the same moment.

39. Mr. J. H. Hare

asked the Minister of Works how much extra accommodation he has been requested to supply for Government Departments in London during the past three months; which Departments have made such requests; and how many additional personnel are involved in each request.

Mr. Stokes

During the past three months I have been asked to' supply about 59,500 square feet of office accommodation and about 416,000 square feet of storage and special accommodation for Government Departments in London. It does not follow from that fact that requests have been made that extra accommodation will be provided. Some demands are met by concentration of staffs in existing accommodation. These figures must not be taken to represent the full demands of the re-armament programme. I will, with permission, circulate details in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Hare

In view of the urgent need for economy in the expenditure of Government Departments, does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that we should be talking in terms of reduction, rather than having to face these enormous demands for extra personnel as well as for extra accommodation?

Mr. Stokes

I am responsible only for my own Department and I provide accommodation for others on demand. I can only assure the hon. Gentleman that I am very conscious of the need for economy.

Mr. Hare

I hope the right hon. Gentleman will be able to impress that on his colleagues.

Following are the details:

Department Approximate area required (sq. ft.) Approximate number of staff
Air Ministry 11,000 110
Ministry of Defence 1,000 10
Ministry of National Insurance 1,500 25
Stationery Office 3,000 30
Ministry of Supply 40,000 500
Treasury 3,000 20
59,500 695

Department Approximate area required (sq. ft.) Purpose
Ministry of Food 280,000 Storage
Home Office 50,000 Storage
Post Office 16,000 Telephone Exchange and Branch Post Offices.
Board of Trade 70,000 Storage