§ 5.55 p.m.
§ LORD DAVIES
My Lords, my first question has already been answered, and I beg to ask the second one.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask His Majesty's Government whether the iron gates and railings recently erected at the headquarters of the Milk Marketing Board have been removed and utilized for war purposes and whether any steps are being taken to deal in a similar way with iron and steel structures in London and elsewhere erected for building schemes which have now been abandoned.]
§ THE MINISTER OF FOOD (LORD WOOLTON)
My Lords, I have consulted the Minister of Supply, on whose behalf I am replying. The noble Lord is asking three questions here. The first is whether these gates have been removed, and the answer to that is in the negative. The second question is, have they been removed in order that they may be used for war purposes? There the answer is in the affirmative. They have been used for war purposes without being removed. We are in the peculiar position, I am advised, that this building is regarded as of importance from a security point of view, and if these gates and railings were removed then some fresh railings would have to be put up. I am sure the noble Lord would agree that, in these circumstances, it is better to keep the railings as they are.
The third part of the question is whether iron and steel structures in London and elsewhere, erected for building schemes which have been abandoned, are going to be taken down. My right honourable friend tells me that he has got a very considerable quantity of scrap from railings that are quite easily 397 accessible, and thinks it inadvisable to take down these steel structures which can only be used for scrap purposes and which can, in certain eventualities, be very useful as buildings in case it becomes necessary, as the result of the process of the war, for other building accommodation to be found. In these circumstances, although he recognises he has full powers, aid will not hesitate to use them, to take this iron and make it into scrap, he considers that at the present time it is inadvisable that he should interfere with these buildings that are half erected. I hope the noble Lord will be satisfied that full inquiries have been made into the question that he has raised.