§ Mr. Kilfedder
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) how many English civil servants in the Northern 605W Ireland Office, Stormont, were housed in accommodation purchased by the Government in each year from 1972–73 to the latest date for which the figures are available; and how many have been removed from such accommodation since 1st December 1977 or have now been compelled to share accommodation with other English civil servants since that date;
(2) how many houses in Northern Ireland have been acquired from 1972–73 to the latest available date; what was the annual cost of the purchases; how many are empty because they are surplus to requirements; what plans he has for their disposal; and how much has been spent on alteration, improvement and maintenance to houses and environs since the date of purchase.
§ Mr. Mason
The Property Services Agency of the Department of the Environment has purchased a total of 51 houses and 15 flats on behalf of the Northern Ireland Office since 1972–73. Seven properties have subsequently been sold at increased prices as they were no longer required. None is empty. No staff have been removed, except on posting, or compelled to share; though it is normal practice that sharing should be arranged by agreement when appropriate.
The annual cost of purchases has been:
1972 73 £38,000 1973–74 £117,800 1974–75 £300,350 1975–76 £316,750 1976–77 £150,980 1977-January 1978 Nil £923,880
The total cost of renovations, alterations and maintenance to them is about £375,000.
The average number of United Kingdom civil servants so housed, thus saving the expense of accommodation in hotels, was 20 in 1973 and has been about 70 over the last three years.