HC Deb 01 July 1952 vol 503 cc214-5
8. Viscount Hinchingbrooke

asked the Minister of Works what steps he has taken to improve the ventilation of the Chamber.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works (Mr. Hugh Molson)

In view of a number of complaints which he had received, my right hon. Friend asked me to investigate the matter and deal with it. I have discussed with the engineers responsible the complaints received, particularly the stuffiness of the Lobbies after repeated Division's. Certain alterations in the handling of the air condition apparatus have been made. Several hon. Members who complained now consider, I am glad to say, that there has been an improvement in recent weeks.

A scientist with special knowledge of the effect of heat, humidity and air movement on the human body was sent by the Medical Research Council at my request to make tests, and I am studying his report.

Mr. Anthony Greenwood

Having achieved a considerable improvement in that respect, would the hon. Gentleman now direct his attention to the conditions in which some of the servants of the House have to work, particularly the liftmen?

Mr. Molson

If the hon. Gentleman will give me particulars of that, I shall be very happy to look into it.

Mr. Beswick

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that I did give him particulars of conditions in the passenger lifts, and although he has told me that there was no cause for complaint, the fact is that the ventilation hole originally provided has been covered by the fluorescent lighting strip and no private employer would expect his employees to work such long hours in those conditions?

Mr. Molson

I wrote to the hon. Gentleman and explained the reason for that, but I am perfectly willing to look into the matter further and see if anything can be done to improve the conditions.

Mr. Thornton-Kemsley

Will my hon. Friend convey to those concerned the appreciation by hon. Members of the very comfortable temperature of the Chamber during this trying weather?

Mr. Molson

I shall be very pleased to do so.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Is it necessary to have men at all in automatic lifts? Could we not save manpower?

Mr. Molson

That is another of the many matters which I shall have to take into consideration.