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Paris Embassy Kitchens (Improvements)

Volume 527: debated on Tuesday 11 May 1954

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34.

asked the Minister of Works the total cost of work done recently, and to be done, on the kitchens of Her Majesty's Embassy in Paris.

The renovation and re-equipping of the kitchens at the Paris Embassy will cost £7,000.

Can the Minister say whether these kitchens proved very unsatisfactory, and, if so, for how long—or does this large expenditure mean that there has been a great increase of eating in this Embassy?

The kitchens were installed in 1895. They were completely antiquated, and their equipment was completely out of date. I was there 10 days ago, and I am quite sure that the improvements are worth while.

Is it not a fact that this improvement will probably save a lot of money?

Is the Minister aware that half the houses in Oldham were built before 1895, and that most of them have to make do without new kitchens?

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Committee of Public Accounts has already expressed alarm about the proposed high expenditure undertaken in this and many other embassies? Will he not look into the matter, together with the Foreign Office, to see if some saving cannot be effected?

My hon. Friend touched on the real point, which is that the Embassy in Paris has to do a great deal of entertaining, and unless the kitchens are adequate for the purpose much work has to be put out to caterers. The cost of doing this in Paris is so high that I am certain we shall get our money back by making this improvement.

Fifty for lunch or dinner, and between 200 and 600 for cocktail parties.