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Ministry Of Works

Volume 462: debated on Monday 14 March 1949

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Government Offices


asked the Minister of Works to what Government Departments the buildings now being erected in Harrow are to be allocated; the numbers of staff which these will accommodate; and the approximate dates of completion.

I understand that the buildings to which my hon. Friend refers are the temporary office buildings being erected at Stanmore, Eastcote and Ruislip. The building at Stanmore is allocated to the Air Ministry and the War Office and should be completed by May. It will accommodate about 1,300 staff. An extension of the temporary office buildings at Eastcote has recently been completed and work on another small extension is about to begin. These new buildings are allocated to the Foreign Office and will hold about 600 staff. The building at Ruislip has recently been allocated to the Air Ministry for the use of the United States Air Force.

Could the Minister tell the House whether there will be any residential provision on these sites for the clerical staff?

There may be in the last of the cases which I have enumerated. I know of no other.

Building Licence, Birmingham


asked the Minister of Works if he is aware that many families living in rooms in the City of Birmingham are concerned about an application for a licence for materials being granted to build a 144-bedroom hotel in that city; and, in view of the urgent need for houses, if he will postpone the granting of this licence until the housing situation is more favourable.

This proposal, which is to convert an existing theatre into a hotel, is supported by the Board of Trade and by the local authority. It should not affect the progress of housing work in Birmingham.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that at present, out of 20,000 building workers in the City of Birmingham, only 1,400 or 1,500 are employed on house building? Is my right hon. Friend further aware that the housing application list is now 68,000, and is increasing at the rate of 200 a week; and does he think that hotels should be built before homes for the people? Birmingham has waited long enough.

I am afraid that I do not agree with the figures which my hon. Friend has quoted. They are entirely wrong. Out of some 15,000 employed workers, nearly 7,000 are at present employed on housing. Moreover, as I have said, this project is supported by the local authority, although the licence has not yet been issued.

Is there not already plenty of labour in Birmingham available for this projected hotel, apart from house building requirements, and has the right hon. Gentleman seen the recent statement of the Deputy-Mayor of Birmingham in this regard?

I am convinced that this work can be done without calling on any of the labour required for housing purposes.

I am sorry that I cannot agree with my right hon. Friend's figures. Being a member of the Birmingham City Council, I know that his figures are wrong.

Is my right hon. Friend aware of a statement which was made from the rostrum of the City Council to the effect that there are only 1,500 employed on house building?

I am sorry, but I obtained my figures just before coming here from the official source from which such figures are obtained.

Cyprus (Us Radio Station)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs under which section and of what agreement is the foreign broadcast service of the United States Government permitted to recruit and train in the United Kingdom, Persian and Azerbaijani language monitors for its radio station in Cyprus.

No special agreement is required to enable the United States Government, or any other foreign Government, to recruit and train employees in this country, always provided that our laws and regulations are not infringed.

As we seem to have given the Americans a free run for their radio station in Cyprus, is it too late for my right hon. Friend to ask them to make a protest in the Middle East languages about the reign of terror in these countries, and especially about the situation in Iraq?