asked the Minister of Works how many chairs or seats are available in the parks and open spaces under his control, either free or on payment of a fee.
Messrs. Shanly, the contractor for park chairs, maintain a stock of 11,000 deck chairs and 25,000 iron chairs for use in the parks on payment of a small charge. The number available depends partly on the public demand and partly on the number under repair. Normal wear and tear and, to a regrettably large extent, wilful damage caused by irresponsible persons result in large numbers of chairs being unavailable at any one time. In addition my Department provide nearly 2,000 free seats, with a seating capacity of over 10,000 places.
Is the Minister's policy to provide more free chairs in our parks and not to have chairs for payment all the time?
That matter is now under consideration. The contract with the present contractor goes on for about another two years, when the matter will be reconsidered.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that two people sometimes take up a whole bench, and can he do anything about it?