§ Mr. Arthur Lewis
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment why he will not take action to save Government expenditure by ending the supply of residential premises to certain Ministers or charging them economic rents.
§ Mr. Marks
The provision of official residences to certain Ministers is a longstanding arrangement, and all the current occupations are necessary for the proper performance of ministerial duties. Under the terms of the Finance Act 1977 the Ministers concerned will for the first time be liable to taxation on the cost of maintaining the accommodation, but payment of rent would not be appropriate for the reason given, and because in each case the residence provided is part of a Government building and no choice of location or quality is therefore practical.