HC Deb 23 April 1990 vol 171 c18
71. Mr. Butler

To ask the Lord President of the Council what consideration he has given to the provision of banking services within the Palace of Westminister.

Sir Geoffrey Howe

Longer-term planning for the phase 2 parliamentary building includes consideration of the establishment of banking facilities either in the Palace itself, in the new buildings, or as part of the retail units planned for the area. In the short term, the Accommodation and Administration Sub-Committee is considering a proposal to establish cash-dispensing machines into the House.

Mr. Butler

Does my right hon. and learned Friend accept that this would be a most convenient facility for hon. Members? Although the Post Office provides a cheque-cashing facility, once in a rare while hon. Members wish to bank money as well.

Sir Geoffrey Howe

I take my hon. Friend's point. That is why the wider facility is being considered. It is important to press ahead with the provision of cash-dispensing machines in the building at as early a stage as possible, as we hope to do.

Mr. Skinner

Has the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, the right hon. Member for Blaby (Mr. Lawson), put in a bid for Barclays bank to help pay for the £250,000 that he gets for working two days a week for it?

Sir Geoffrey Howe

My right hon. Friend the former Chancellor of the Exchequer is fortunate in not being the responsibility of this former Chancellor of the Exchequer. He is well able to speak for himself and justify the services that he gives to his present employers.

Mr. Jacques Arnold

In view of recent developments in electronic banking and the like, will my right hon. and learned Friend give some thought to inviting the major banks and building societies to install automatic telling machines in the House?

Sir Geoffrey Howe

That raises rather wider questions that might have some application in certain circumstances. I am not prepared to go further than that at this stage.

Mr. Nicholas Bennett

Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that it is not only banking services that Members need in this place? There is a dearth of good shops anywhere in the area for buying simple groceries. We should be concerned about the difficulties faced by the staff and all those who work in this place, apart from the 650 Members. They are a long way from any shops where they can get the necessities of life—[Interruption.] It would be extremely helpful for the staff and Members if some form of simple grocery shop were provided.

Sir Geoffrey Howe

Contrary apparently to the view of hon. Members, I have a great deal of sympathy with my hon. Friend's point. I think that there is a strong case to be made for extending the facilities of that sort that are available in or near the Palace of Westminster. That is one matter which I have already placed on and shall keep upon the agenda.