HC Deb 22 November 1954 vol 533 cc779-80
51. Sir J. Lucas

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that his Department did not offer Langstone Sanatorium back to the Portsmouth City Council when it was no longer required; and whether he will now use his discretionary powers to vary the price demanded to the one legally payable if it had been so offered.

Mr. Iain Macleod

My hon. Friend is mistaken. My Department received from the regional hospital board in February, 1954, a recommendation that this sanatorium should be regarded as surplus to requirements. This was agreed in April, 1954, and the property offered shortly afterwards to the corporation under the usual arrangements governing the disposal of Government property, the terms to be settled with the district valuer. The concession whereby property previously owned by a local authority might be offered back to them for a nominal sum applied only to property declared surplus during the first five years of the Health Service, i.e. before 5th July, 1953.

Sir J. Lucas

As the hospital was not used except for storage purposes for two years previously, either due to forgetfulness or lack of foresight, which was regarded as highly suspicious by the local public, will my right hon. Friend consider holding a public inquiry into this matter?

Mr. Macleod

No, Sir. I have looked into the matter carefully and have received a deputation from my two hon. Friends, but I cannot go further than the answer which I have given today.

52. Sir J. Lucas

asked the Minister of Health how much has been spent by his Department on the maintenance and repair of Langstone Sanatorium between the time it was no longer required for its proper use, and the time it was offered to Portsmouth Corporation; and at what state of repair it now is.

Mr. Iain Macleod

A sum of £1,423. I understand that the property is now watertight, but is in need of general overhaul and redecoration.