HC Deb 08 May 1962 vol 659 cc203-4
19. Mr. W. Hamilton

asked the Minister of Works why £7,000 has been provided for contingencies in his expenditure at 1A Kensington Palace; and how that figure was arrived at.

Lord John Hope

Estimates for major schemes of this nature normally include a contingency allowance. This figure was considered reasonable to cover the costs arising from defects in the building which would only come to light during the progress of the work.

Mr. Hamilton

Is the Minister aware that that does not seem to be a very scientific way of estimating, particularly in view of the stringencies which the Chancellor of the Exchequer is exerting on other Ministries? Does not the Minister think that this £7,000 would be much better spent on three or four of the families now homeless in London?

Lord John Hope

The point is that if nothing unforeseen comes about, it will not be used at all.

20. Mr. W. Hamilton

asked the Minister of Works what proportion of the total cost of all the work on 1A Kensington Palace is being met out of public funds.

Lord John Hope

Of the estimated cost of £85,000, £65,000 is to be met from Subhead C of the Royal Palaces Vote and £20,000 from funds at the disposal of the Sovereign from the Grant-in-Aid under Subhead A of the Vote. The cost of boilers, a boiler-house, kitchen equipment and some of the decorations and special fittings, not included in the total of £85,000, is to be met privately by Her Royal Highness Princess Margaret.

Mr. Hamilton

Is it not the normal practice with historical buildings of this kind for the owner or occupant to pay half the cost? In view of the fact that the family which will occupy this build- ing is well able to pay that 50 per cent., why do not they do it?

Lord John Hope

This is not a comparable case.

Mr. M. Stewart

Is it not the general policy of the Government that subsidised houses should not be occupied by people who can afford to buy houses of their own?

Hon. Members


Dr. Stross

Is it not a fact that this is a Wren house, and that if there had been no occupant available at all, it would have had to be restored and kept in good condition because of its historical importance, and thus the whole cost would have fallen on the taxpayer?

Lord John Hope

Yes, Sir.

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