HC Deb 06 December 1960 vol 631 cc1043-4
13. Mr. Jeger

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is now in a position to make a statement on the proposed National Theatre.

23. Dr. Stross

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how long the site on the South Bank has been available for the proposed National Theatre; and when he is to meet the representative body to discuss the new building.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

A site on the South Bank has been available since 1945. A deputation is coming to see me later this week. In other respects I have nothing to add to the reply given to the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central (Dr. Stross) by my hon. Friend the Financial Secretary on 17th November.

Mr. Jeger

When the deputation visits the right hon. and learned Member, will he bear in mind the fact that April, 1964, is a very significant date, and that it is hoped that the National Theatre will be opened in that month, preferably on 23rd April? Since the right hon and learned Gentleman and his friends will then be looking for something to place to the credit of the Government, will he expedite the building of the National Theatre so that its completion will coincide with 1964?

Mr. Lloyd

I am aware of the significance of the date to which the hon. Member has referred.

Dr. Stross

Is the Chancellor aware that this site has been kept sterilised for this purpose for many years now? Is it not very unfair to ask the London County Council to hold on to it indefinitely? In his discussions will the Chancellor see that a decision is made forthwith?

Mr. Lloyd

I certainly think that it is time for a decision one way or the other to be made in this matter.

Sir P. Agnew

Before my right hon. and learned Friend receives a deputation, will he bear in mind the fact that there appears to be no appreciable shortage of theatre accommodation in London and that, by arrangement, one of the existing theatres could very well be designated as the National Theatre?