HC Deb 17 December 1963 vol 686 cc1022-3
6. Mr. K. Lewis

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works whether he will commence a programme of cleaning of the outsides of Government buildings in and around the Whitehall area of London.

Mr. Rippon

I have had this matter reviewed and I propose that we should clean the stonework of the Banqueting House as a first step.

Mr. Lewis

Is my right hon. Friend aware that I should certainly not suggest that he should undertake to wash down the buildings which he intends to pull down? Is he aware that the initial step which he has announced will be well received in the country and in London? Can he go a little further as soon as possible because there are a great many buildings—for instance, the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square—standing beside buildings which belong to other Governments and which have been cleaned? Is he aware that the progressive cleaning of Government buildings will help to make London a much more beautiful place?

Mr. Rippon

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for expressing his view. As I said to my hon. Friend the Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley) on 16th July, the stonework of the National Gallery was last cleaned in 1951 and I do not feel able to give that a very high priority. If we are successful in the case of the Banqueting House I hope that we may be able to consider other buildings. But the problem in London is not so easy as, for example, in Paris.