HC Deb 15 March 1965 vol 708 cc863-4
7. Mr. Lubbock

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works what is the cost of the office space being rented by the Ministry of Technology at Mill-bank Tower, S.W.1; what alternative accommodation was offered; and why it was rejected.

Mr. Boyden

It is not the practice to give details of rents paid for Government offices. The only other accommodation considered was a small area in Shell Mex House. It would have been more difficult to provide additional space there.

Mr. Lubbock

Would the Parliamentary Secretary confirm or deny that 30,000 sq. ft. have been taken in this building at a cost in rent of £100,000 per annum? Would it not be a good idea if some of the Ministers who are taking up space in the centre of the Metropolis were to consult the Location of Offices Bureau to see whether they cannot go somewhere else where it is less crowded?

Mr. Boyden

I confirm that 30,000 sq. ft. of usable office space have been taken up.

8. Mr. Lubbock

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works what recent plumbing facilities have been authorised on the 11th floor of the Ministry of Technology's offices at Millbank Tower; what they have cost; and under which Vote they were authorised.

Mr. C. Pannell

No plumbing work has been authorised on the 11th floor of Mill-bank Tower. My Department has sought an estimate of cost for providing separate lavatory and washing facilities for the Minister and senior officials.

Mr. Lubbock

Can the Minister say whether he has any plans for installing bathrooms as part of the accommodation? If the average rent per square feet that I have been given in answer to previous Questions is correct, will he not confirm that if someone has a bath in this room once a week it will cost about £7 per bath?

Mr. Pannell

I notice that in the Press publicity in which the hon. Gentleman indulged in advance of this Question he referred to the fact that he had not a bath in his room at the House. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I only want to tell him, what he probably does not know, that there are, of course, three bathrooms in the House, but perhaps the hon. Gentleman does not bath outside.

Mr. Ramsden

Is it not a fact that this tower is now known in Whitehall as the "Corridors of Snow"?

Mr. Pannell

If that is the best the right hon. Gentleman can do for a joke, I suggest that he goes back to Harrogate. It is normal practice for a senior Minister to have a separate lavatory, both under this and the previous Government. There are 28 Ministers who have this facility. Ten have a separate bathroom, including the Minister of Public Building and Works—whose bathroom was installed, of course, over 20 years ago. I could give a list of them, but cleanliness was not unknown, of course, to the previous Administration, and I hope that it will be practised by this one.