HC Deb 20 March 1962 vol 656 cc181-2
1. Mr. M. Stewart

asked the Minister of Works what annual rent his Department will pay for State House, Holborn, and for the Empress State Building, Earls Court, respectively.

The Minster of Works (Lord John Hope)

It is not my policy to publish details of commercial transactions such as leases, and I cannot therefore disclose the rent of the Empress State Building. The rent of State House has already been published in a company prospectus. It is £312,000 a year.

Mr. Stewart

Would the Minister agree that the rend of the other one is £299,000 a year, and why is it that if other people can make this information public, he cannot tell the House of Commons? Further, is not it the policy of the Government to discourage the multiplication of office employment in Central London? Why is it that the Government let it be understood that if the builders of office accommodation cannot find a market the Government will take it off their hands?

Lord John Hope

A lot of Government office personnel has been placed out of London, and we shall do all we can to continue this. Obviously we must have some in London so long as London is the headquarters of the machine. I cannot add to what I have said about rents. I am sure it is in the interests of the taxpayers with regard to future commercial transactions that I should not divulge what rents I am trying to get on their behalf.