HC Deb 22 July 1968 vol 769 cc6-7
6. Mr. Emrys Hughes

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works what is his estimate of the total expenditure to be incurred at Caernarvon Castle for the investiture of the Prince of Wales; what alternations are to be made at the castle; what temporary buildings are to b6 erected; and at what cost.

Mr. Mellish

I expect the net cost of the work for which I am responsible to be about £55,000.

No alterations will be made to the castle itself, nor will any temporary buildings be erected inside the castle.

Mr. Hughes

Is this in addition to the £200,000 about which we have heard already? Would it not be far better to put the money into a housing scheme or schools rather than spend it on temporary buildings intended for something which will last only a couple of hours?

Mr. Mellish

That is a very unfair criticism. The £55,000 to which I have referred is part of the global sum already given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales, and my hon. Friend should recognise that it is almost impossible to estimate how much money will come into Wales as a result of the hundreds of thousands of people who will wish to see this very remarkable ceremony. In our whole design with regard to Caernarvon Castle, we have in mind that it will probably be viewed by something like 400 million people throughout the world. I think that it is a very worthwhile ceremony.

Mr. Speaker

Order. Long answers mean fewer Questions.

Mr. Frederic Harris

Is the Minister aware that this type of Question so often put down by the hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes) and many of his hon. Friends causes great offence to the Royal Family and the public in general, who find these comments unacceptable?

Mr. Mellish

In fairness to my hon. Friend the Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes), he has every right to question any expenditure. He has a viewpoint which he has always had the courage to express. However, in this matter, I think that we shall get wonderful value for the money involved. I might mention, too, that some of the chairs that we shall make will be sold at a profit.