HC Deb 27 June 1996 vol 280 cc224-5W
Mr. Alan Williams

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how much was spent on Employment Department office refurbishment in Swansea before its sale; and what were the sale proceeds. [34483]

Mr. Forth

Responsibility for the subject of the question has been delegated to the Employment Service under its chief executive. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from Mike Fogden to Mr. Alan Williams, dated 26 June 1996: The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question about the cost of the Employment Department office refurbishment in Swansea. The refurbishment of one of my offices in Swansea started in February 1994. The work was essential for the following reasons;

  1. (i) to meet our organisational requirements at that time in order to efficiently deal with the needs of the business;
  2. (ii) to fulfil our lease obligations to maintain the standard of our estates responsibilities ie redecoration and maintenance/upgrade of the heating system;
  3. (iii) to meet health and safety requirements by upgrading light levels to ensure compliance with the Health at Work Act.
Subsequent to these alterations taking place our operational requirements changed and. in order to meet these and to continue to improve the delivery of services to our clients, the decision was taken to fully integrate the functions undertaken at Grove House with those at my other Jobcentre in High Street. Although the premises have not been open to the public since September 1995, the Employment Service has continued to use the premises for its business and will do so until the lease break at the end of June 1996. By maintaining the standard of the office, the refurbishment will greatly offset any dilapidation claim the landlord may have against us at the end of our tenure in June. There were no sale proceeds as the building is leasehold, not freehold. Disposal of our lease in June will realise savings of £42,500 rent and £20,000 rates per annum to the ES. Additional running cost savings of £10,500 per annum in respect of fuel, utilities etc, will also be achieved. I hope this is helpful.