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Festival Of Britain

Volume 480: debated on Wednesday 8 November 1950

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Bus Shelters

45.

asked the Lord President of the Council how much is being spent by the Festival of Britain Office in building bus shelters throughout the country; on what basis the sites for these are chosen; and what other building projects outside the Festival grounds are intended.

On the first part of the Question the answer is nothing. On the second part, the choice of sites rests with the local authorities. On the third part, the Festival of Britain Office is not erecting any buildings outside the exhibition sites on the South Bank and in Poplar.

Will the Lord President of the Council consider reducing some of the expenditure in connection with the Festival and giving the money to the old age pensioners instead?

In view of the fact that members of the Opposition Front Bench are members of the Festival Council, I think that that is a misplaced question which I should not like to describe.

On a point of order Could we have candles brought in on the extreme back benches, Mr. Speaker? There seems to be plenty of light on the other benches.

Sunday Opening

47.

asked the Lord President of the Council to what extent he has agreed to restrict the intended activities of the Festival of Britain on Sundays as a result of the representations of the Sunday Observance Society.

48.

asked the Lord President of the Council whether it is intended that the Festival of Britain shall be open to the public on Sundays.

I hope to be in a position to make a statement to the House on this subject shortly.

Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether his intention to open this exhibition on Sunday has been interfered with by the Sunday Observance Society, and will he let us know exactly what has happened?

We have in connection with the Festival of Britain a religious advisory committee representing all the denominations, and in due course I will report to the House what has been their advice, which must obviously be taken into account with the greatest seriousness. The Lord's Day Observance Society is quite another matter. They are somewhat in the nature of a pressure group which it is for hon. Members to estimate according to their personal opinions.

Quite apart from the activities of this society, will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that there is considerable uneasiness among a large section of the population as to whether in particular any amusement park should be open on Sundays? Will he also inform the House of his intentions at the earliest possible moment, as many of us wish to inform our constituents of his intentions?

I appreciate that Members are receiving a large amount of correspondence, which I think is inspired by the Lord's Day Observance Society. On the other hand, I quite agree that it will be for the general convenience of the House to know the intentions of the Government at the earliest possible moment.

Before my right hon. Friend comes to a final decision on this matter will he bear in mind that there are thousands of people in the North of England particularly, who are now working six whole days per week, and that they also desire to see the Festival of Britain?

The Lord President of the Council said that he would make a statement. Surely, the obvious thing is to await that statement and then ask questions.