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Hm Embassies (Expenditure)

Volume 527: debated on Tuesday 18 May 1954

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asked the Minister of Works the total sum expended on improvements and additions to Her Majesty's Embassies and their surroundings last year.

It will take a little time to assemble this information. My right hon. Friend will write to the hon. Member when he has it.

Can the hon. Gentleman give some idea of the figure involved? The impression given is that while a great deal has been spent on some of the major embassies some of the lesser embassies and consulates have been allowed to fall into comparative disrepair.

I am sure that my right hon. Friend will be happy to give the hon. Member all the information he can, as soon as he has it. The difficulty is that there are still many accounts to come in for work done overseas in the last quarter of last year.

Would my hon. Friend give the figure of at least what was provided in this connection in last year's Estimates, because that has already been published, and might help us?

That is another Question, but I am sure that my hon. Friend knows the answer already.

Is it not a fact that the hon. Gentleman's Ministry carries out these works to the orders of the Foreign Office and would he remind his right hon. Friend, as I sought to do last week, that the Public Accounts Committee is also disturbed about this enormous expenditure on these embassies overseas, and would he consider having a conference with the Foreign Office on the whole matter?

What the hon. Member says is very largely true, and my right hon. Friend is critically examining these estimates all the time.