asked the First Commissioner of Works how many rooms of ordinary size there are in the Hotel Cecil which the Air Board are now occupying or in course of alteration for their occupation; how many banqueting halls, saloons, and grill rooms of very large size in the same hotel are occupied or about to be occupied for the same purpose; whether he is aware that the Constitutional Club, who occupy a fractional part of the hotel, after being turned out of their own club in Northumberland Avenue, only enjoy the use of thirty bedrooms, in lieu of the 200 they formerly had, and that a number of Members of Parliament residing in the country have nowhere else to go; and whether he has any authority to stop the Air Board, who already have over 700 rooms, from laying their hands on these thirty bedrooms, which are dark and interspersed with bathrooms and water-closets, and entirely unfit for offices?
§ Sir A. MOND
The answer to the first question is 570 rooms exclusive of bathrooms; to the second, nine larger rooms; 1863W and to the third and fourth that the question what should be done as regards the accommodation now held by the Constitutional Club at the Hotel Cecil is being carefully considered by the Committee on Government Accommodation, and alternatives have been suggested to the Air Board in order to avoid the accommodation of the Constitutional Club being disturbed.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether there is any authority responsible to Parliament, and, if so, who, entitled to control the commandeering of hotels, clubs, and private houses, and the destruction of public and private gardens by various Departments of the Government; and whether he or such authority, if any, would be willing to furnish a return of the number of additional rooms commandeered by and constructed for such Departments respectively in 1915, 1916, and the first seven weeks of 1917?
§ Sir A. MOND
The First Commissioner of Works has responsibility to Parliament in respect of the requisitioning of land or buildings for the accommodation of the staff of Government offices, since, though the actual requisitioning is done by the Army Council or Admiralty it is done at his request. In view of heavy pressure of work and shortage of staff through release of men for the Army I see grave objection to the preparation of the return asked for by the hon. Member, which would involve a great deal of labour. I hope at an early date to lay a Paper before Parliament giving particulars of buildings erected and premises taken over in 1916 in the London district for use by Government offices.