HC Deb 05 May 1952 vol 500 c7
14. Mr. J. H. Hare

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he will now make a statement concerning the investigations he promised to carry out regarding the expenditure by the Eastern Electricity Board of more than £110,000 for the adaptation of Whersted House as their headquarters.

The Minister of Fuel and Power (Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd)

The Eastern Electricity Board bought Whersted House for £20,000 in 1948. The building was extended and repairs were necessary owing to damage by death watch beetle and dry rot. The total spent, including purchase, was £103,500. I am informed that the work has been completed within the amount authorised by my predecessor.

Mr. Hare

Does my right hon. Friend think that the late Government were justified in allowing such a lavish amount to be spent on this nationalised headquarters when, in fact, there was a very considerable shortage of labour and materials needed for housing and other important purposes at the time?

Mr. Lloyd

I should not like to make detailed comments on a particular case. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why not?"] Because I think it is more important to get the present and the future right than to investigate the past. I have impressed on the Electricity Authority the need for the strictest economy in regard to offices, showrooms and the like.