HC Deb 25 July 1986 vol 102 cc574-5W
Mr. Tom Clarke

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish in the Official Report the letter dated 22 July from the parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, the hon. Member for Ealing, Acton (Sir G. Young) to the hon. Member for Monklands, West regarding the proposed office at Coatbridge to house staff of the Departments of Health and Social Security and Employment.

Sir George Young

Yes. The text is as follows:

DE and DHSS Offices: Coatbridge Michael Ancram has written to me about the comments you recently expressed to him over the proposed office at Coatbridge to house DHSS and DE staff. As you know, during the Adjournment Debate on 25 March 1986, I undertook that I would examine with colleagues ways in which improved working conditions could be provided. In particular, we have investigated various options for phasing the developers' costs over the next few years. Unfortunately, two of the options proposed would result in an unacceptably high increase in the total cost of the project, and all rely upon funds not yet known to be available in future years. The Coatbridge scheme is indeed of high priority, but I am dependent as to the outcome of this current PES round. You will be aware of the timetable for setting expenditure programmes, and I doubt if we will be able to give a further statement about the project until the PES round is completed in late September. It was because I could not allow a contractual commitment to be entered into without funds being earmarked that I have had to hold the project up. There was no question of using savings on the project to finance a development in a New Town. It was simply that the project priorities had to be decided in conjuction with client Departments and, where funds are limited, some projects will go ahead and others will not. I also understand that you have asked to see a copy of Mr. Gosling's reply to a letter from Males and McDonald, the developers involved in this project. I have pleasure in enclosing a copy. I know that our continued inability to go ahead must be a disappointment: I will write again as soon as PSA's funding position for future years has been determined.