HL Deb 29 March 1979 vol 399 cc1651-2

3.11 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows: To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the cost to public funds of preparing the old Coal Exchange in Cardiff for the use of the proposed Welsh Assembly; what was the parliamentary authority for this expenditure; and for what purpose do they now propose to use this building.


My Lords, my right honourable friend the Lord President of the Council announced in another place on 14th April 1976 that the Government were authorising the Property Services Agency to enter into commitments in advance of legislation so that buildings would be available in time. Provision was subsequently taken in Estimates. So far, the only expenditure incurred in preparing the Coal Exchange has been some £42,000 for preliminary repairs and the provision of a plant room. If the Exchange is no longer required for a Welsh Assembly, the Government will consider possible alternative uses or disposal.


My Lords, while thanking the noble Baroness for that moderately reassuring reply, may I ask her to explain why she uses the expression, If the Exchange is no longer required for a Welsh Assembly"?

Baroness STEDMAN

Because the future of the Welsh Assembly is still a matter for consideration, my Lords.


My Lords, is it not a fact that this building was taken on leasehold originally? May I ask the noble Baroness to say who is now the landlord?

Baroness STEDMAN

It was taken on leasehold, my Lords; it was taken on a 20 years' lease with a break clause after 10 years. At the moment the Property Services Agency has the tenancy of it. The freehold, at the time we leased it, was in the control of Control Securities Limited. The freehold is currently owned by a company called Mount Stuart Foundation, which is registered in Lichtenstein, and Control Securities Limited are their managing agents.