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Westminster Hall (Repairs)

Volume 463: debated on Monday 28 March 1949

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39.

asked the Minister of Works what is the estimated cost of the repairs to the roof of Westminster Hall, and if the work was put out to tender before it was decided to employ direct labour.

The cost is estimated to be £25,000. Part of the work, to the value of £6,000, was put out to tender, but the repairs to the actual timber of the roof are being carried out by directly employed carpenters in accordance with the Ministry's policy for the maintenance of historic buildings.

Could the right hon. Gentleman tell us why it is taking almost as long to repair this roof as it is to build the new House of Commons?

The replacement of timber of this sort is a very delicate piece of work in a construction of this kind. We do not want to do any injury to such a building if we can possibly avoid it.

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that the men on the job were prepared to accept a bonus scheme as a. result of which the rate of progress could have been speeded up, and could he not see his way to accept that proposition?

No, Sir. It is much better that the job should go on in the way in which it is going, in order to get satisfactory service in the end.