HC Deb 12 February 1996 vol 271 cc649-50
33. Sir Michael Neubert

To ask the right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed, as representing the House of Commons Commission, what financial provision has been made in the last 12 months for compliance with the law relating to listed buildings. [13055]

Mr. Beith

Financial provision for conservation requirements is included as part of the cost estimates for individual new works and maintenance projects.

Sir Michael Neubert

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the anxiety caused by the appearance in the House—temporarily, one hopes—of replacement internal doors which look like a job lot purchased at a do-it-yourself store on a wet Saturday afternoon, and also by the flashing red industrial-type lights which appear in the corridors during Divisions? Can the right hon. Gentleman assure us that at all times our concern will be less for the exercise of bureaucratic zeal and more for our obligations as custodians of Parliament as a priceless part of our national heritage?

Mr. Beith

The House has a good and improving record of attention to the conservation requirements of this important building. I am pleased to say that one of the doors, within my sight at this moment, to which the hon. Gentleman referred has already been replaced by its original. The House staff pay careful attention to the need to keep the fittings and furnishings and the building itself in good repair.

Mr. Gunnell

Does the listed status of the building impose any additional costs or difficulties when replacing the plumbing? Will the right hon. Gentleman comment on reports made earlier in the year that some listed bacteria were present in parts of the hot water system? Can he assure us that, as a result of action taken, there is now no danger of Legionnaire's disease being present in the hot water system of the House?

Mr. Beith

I have been advised that there is no danger of Legionnaire's disease being present in the hot water system of the House. However, I shall arrange for a detailed written reply to be given to the hon. Gentleman. I do not think that the problem arose because of the listed status of the building.

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