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Electricity Authority (Offices)

Volume 486: debated on Monday 9 April 1951

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asked the Minister of Fuel and Power for what reasons he authorised the construction of offices by the British Electricity Authority and its subordinate boards.

The British Electricity Authority and the area boards have had to re-organise and integrate the staffs of 561 separate undertakings. About 360 of these undertakings were municipally owned, and many members of the staffs were previously housed in town halls or council offices, which did not pass to the boards. Since vesting date, the electricity sent out has increased by almost 30 per cent., and half a million new consumers are connected every year. It is clear, therefore, that some construction and adaptation of office buildings has been required, if the efficiency of the service was to be maintained.

But did not the Electricity Authority take over a very large amount of office space from the previous electricity undertakings, and has the right hon. Gentleman ascertained from that body why it requires additional office space?

I have explained that the amount is very small. Since 1st January, 1950, I have authorised the expenditure of only £400,000 on new construction and adaptations [HON. MEMBERS: "Only."] which, in comparison with the immense services rendered to the nation, is very small.

Why did not the Minister transfer some of the large surplus of colliery offices which, according to the nationalised industry, have been rendered useless since nationalisation? What has the Minister done with those offices?

Would it not be better if there were fewer administrators in the Electricity Authority?