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Government Offices

Volume 480: debated on Monday 13 November 1950

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2.

asked the Minister of Works who will occupy the block of offices to be built in the Headrow, Leeds, at an approximate total cost of £600,000.

The Inland Revenue, Ministry of Labour and Customs and Excise Departments. As I said the other week, no licence to build has yet been issued.

Will the Minister bear in mind that it is high time productive industry had access to the new office accommodation of the country rather than tax-consuming Government Departments such as this?

I think the hon. Gentleman is under a misconception. Where we erect those buildings we do it for the purpose of derequisitioning other buildings at present occupied by the staff. It is only done to that end.

3.

asked the Minister of Works how many new Government offices have been erected since the end of the war where the Government has taken over a long lease from a private owner.

4.

asked the Minister of Works the average annual rental per square foot, separately, in London and the provinces, paid in respect of Government offices erected and owned by private contractors.

I assume that the hon. Member is referring to office buildings erected since the war for lease to the Government under what is known as the Building Lessor Scheme. The average rents to be paid under these agreements are 7s. 8d. per square foot in the Metropolitan Police area and 6s. 6d. per square foot in the provinces.

Will those buildings count for the Government share of capital expenditure, or are they regarded for the purpose of the survey as outside it?

9.

asked the Minister of Works how many schemes for the building of office accommodation, to be leased wholly or partially to Government Departments, have been licensed in London in the past 12 months; and how many new applications for similar buildings are now under consideration.

Thirteen buildings and part of another building have been licensed in the past 12 months. Plans for future building are under review. Unless there is no other way of releasing requisitioned premises before emergency powers expire, none of these new building schemes will be proceeded with until I am satified both that on balance it offers financial advantage and that the material and labour required will not interfere with the housing programme.

Has the right hon. Gentleman considered using temporary buildings or even huts for Government offices in order to release the labour for house building?

What consultations take place with the Home Office and the Ministry of Defence? Every day we hear of more and more Government offices going up in London. Surely, from the strategic and civil defence points of view, it is the height of folly to have any more here.

I am in constant touch with the Departments concerned and we have not yet come across any difficulties.