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Savoy Hotel (Building Licences)

Volume 441: debated on Monday 28 July 1947

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65, 66 and 67.

asked the Minister of Works (1) the numbers and financial amounts of building licences granted to the Savoy Hotel, Limited, Strand, for the past 12 months;

(2) if he will give an assurance that all building work carried out at the Savoy Hotel, Strand, during the past 12 months was of an urgent character; and whether building licences were obtained in each case where the regulations so applied;

(3) The amounts of materials, &c., in itemised form, issued under licence to the Savoy Hotel, Limited, during the past 12 months.

Six building licences, involving a total expenditure of £5,891, have been issued by my Ministry and by the local authority during the last 12 months. The work licensed was all necessary, and the requirements of the Regulation have been observed. The only material for which a licence was required was three tons of steel. In addition to the licences for specific building work, a maintenance licence has been granted authorising the annual expenditure of £20,000 on the complete block of buildings of which the Savoy Hotel forms part, including Government offices, shop and business premises, and the Savoy Theatre. A licence for 4 tons 6 cwts. of steel has been issued in this connection.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that while we want to encourage the tourist traffic, his statement will cause grave consternation among many hundreds of thousands of workers who cannot find homes in this country?

I should be very surprised if that was the case, especially when I inform my hon. Friend that by far the largest item was for dismantling and refitting lavatory accommodation to meet the requirements of the medical officer of health for the district.

As the Savoy Hotel receives thousands of American visitors, and earns millions of dollars for this country, are not these Questions misconceived?

Cannot this private vendetta against the Savoy Hotel be carried on elsewhere?

Is the Minister aware that his information about essential work is to some extent incorrect? I myself have seen that some of this work is far from being essential?