HC Deb 31 March 1981 vol 2 cc144-5
13. Mr. Bidwell

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what payment to the National Health Service he expects from the sale of the St. George's hospital site.

Dr. Vaughan

No figure can be given at present.

Mr. Bidwell

Is the Minister aware that many Londoners believe that publicly owned land should be retained for public usage, and that if the land is sold for a song because of Government policy there will be a public outcry? Therefore, when it is sold for its proper value, which must be fabulous, will the hon. Gentleman ensure that the money is spent on providing better equipment for our under-equipped hospitals?

Dr. Vaughan

We understand the point, but we have made it clear that there is no further NHS requirement for the site. It is of advantage to the Health Service to raise as much money as possible from our part of the site, which could be used to the benefit of health care.

Mrs. Dunwoody

Why do the Minister's commercial instincts work only one way? Why cannot the NHS benefit economically from the sale of the site? Does the hon. Gentleman agree that it is a disgrace that Grosvenor Estates will walk away with an enormous profit and the taxpayer will gain no benefit?

Dr. Vaughan

The hon. Lady has no grounds for saying that. Only a small section of the site belongs to the NHS.

Mr. Freud

If a hospital, some of the cost of which was raised by the community, is sold, what proportion of the revenue of the sale will be returned to the community, and to whom will it go?

Dr. Vaughan

I should be glad to give the hon. Gentleman a detailed answer in writing. It is our general view that regional, area and local community health authorities should benefit as locally as possible. As much money as possible should go back to the local health service.