HC Deb 04 December 1985 vol 88 cc284-5
3. Mr. Tony Banks

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he last met the chairman of the London Residuary Body; and what was discussed.

Mr. Tracey

My right hon. Friend met the chairman on 27 November to discuss matters relevant to the Residuary Body's functions under the Local Government Act 1985.

Mr. Banks

I was hoping that the engine driver would answer my question.

Is it true that the Secretary of State said that he wanted to see County Hall taken apart brick by brick? If so, is that not an insult to Londoners? When the hon. Gentleman next speaks to the chairman of the London Residuary Body, will he ensure that County Hall is not sold off as a hotel? If it is sold off as a hotel, will he guarantee the safety of the war memorial on the principal floor?

Mr. Tracey

The hon. Gentleman has not changed his spots. He will presumably know that County Hall is a listed building. The London Residuary Body will be aiming to sell County Hall as soon as possible. In order to do that it will be necessary for ILEA to make alternative arrangements for accommodation, and I understand that negotiations between the LRB and ILEA have already begun.

Mr. Marlow

Can my hon. Friend confirm that any cash that is left over from the GLC will go to the London Residuary Body? What action is he taking to prevent Mr. Livingstone from buying himself a parliamentary seat in North London with bribes?

Mr. Tracey

I can assure my hon. Friend that any balances which are left over —I understand that they will be considerable —will go to the London Residuary Body for distribution to the boroughs. I see that the Leader of the GLC has been named "Santa Ken" by some of our newspapers.

Mr. John Fraser

Is the Minister aware of the recommendation in the report "Faith in the City" that there should be an expanded public housing programme of new building and improvement'? Instead of describing the report as negative, as the Secretary of State did, can the hon. Gentleman be positive and give an assurance that the pot of gold of around £30 million of capital receipts held by the GLC will be used for house building and improvement in London, that the GLC house improvement teams which have done such splendid work in London, particularly in rundown estates, will not be broken up, and that the housing research function for London will he preserved? Will he, unlike the Secretary of State, not attack the Church, but say something positive about what can be done for housing in London?

Mr. Tracey

I had not noticed that my right hon. Friend had attacked the Church. I would ask that when such reports are written, some figures should be put on the assessments made by the critics. I can assure the hon. Gentleman that any of the balances that are left over will go to the Residuary Body and be distributed to the boroughs. The hon. Gentleman mentioned property, and I shall be looking into that.