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Ministry Of Works

Volume 466: debated on Monday 4 July 1949

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Allotments, Regent's Park

2.

asked the Minister of Works on what grounds he is proposing to terminate the tenancies of allotment holders in Regent's Park at the end of this year; if he will reconsider his decision, in view of the valuable food produced, and that, in most cases, the plots are so situated that they are unsuitable for the playing of games.

My statutory duties require me to maintain the Royal Parks for the use and enjoyment of the public as a whole and not to alienate portions of them to individuals. I have carefully considered the decision to terminate the tenancies of the allotments in Regent's Park at the end of this year and I am unable to alter it. All the allotments occupy ground which before the war was used for games and it will be used for this purpose again when it has been restored.

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind the admirable principles which he has enunciated as to his stewardship of the Royal Parks when he is considering Richmond Park?

I have already told the hon. Gentleman over and over again that that is the case with regard to Richmond Park.

Are not the allotments necessary to the public as a whole for the production of food, and is not food more important than games?

Transport Division (Reorganisation)

4.

asked the Minister of Works why the reorganisation of the transport division of his Department has been carried out without honouring the redundancy agreement; and what provision he proposes to make for the men who have been turned off in spite of the 1914–18 pledge.

As I have already explained to the hon. Member a major reorganisation of the transport division, involving posts with revised salary scales, became necessary and it was not possible to deal with the reorganisation on the basis of normal redundancy in a particular grade. After advising the staff association concerned, notices of discharge were issued to all existing staff. The claims of all these officers to appointments to the new posts were considered by a selection board specially convened for the purpose and new appointments were offered to the best qualified of them. I regret that I cannot undertake to make any special provisions for those discharged following this reorganisation.

Does any reorganisation of this division justify the Government in breaking the pledge they gave to the men of the 1914–18 war?

No pledge to the men was broken by this reorganisation. That pledge dealt with the normal redundancy in any one grade. This matter concerns the whole reorganisation of the transport division.

Will the right hon. Gentleman tell me whether, as the result of that reorganisation, any men who came into his Department after the 1914–18 war have been given the sack and have not been offered new jobs?

Requisitioned Buildings, Grosvenor Square

5.

asked the Minister of Works why a notice of requisition has been served by his Department upon the owners of Nos. 33 and 34, Grosvenor Square, London, W.1.

These properties were urgently required by the European Co-operation Administration for use as office accommodation. Since no offer of a lease or tenancy could be obtained, except on terms which the Administration were legally precluded from accepting, and possession was urgently needed, the premises were requisitioned. If suitable terms of occupation can be agreed the requisition will be withdrawn.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that they say in Grosvenor-square that an Englishman must now have an American visa if he is to get into the square, even for the ownership of his own property?

People who say that in Grosvenor-square are obviously saying something that is not true.

Prefabricated Buildings, Macclesfield

11.

asked the Minister of Works whether the erection of the prefabricated buildings at Byron Street and Athey Street Secondary Schools, Macclesfield, will be completed before 1st October.