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Empress State Building, Earl's Court

Volume 645: debated on Tuesday 25 July 1961

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1 and 5.

asked the Minister of Works (1) for what purpose his Department has leased the 28-storey Empress State Building from City Centre Properties; and what are the financial terms and duration of the lease; (2) what will be the annual cost to public funds arising out of the use of the Empress State Building by Government Departments; and what annual saving or increased cost will result from these departments moving from other accommodation.

My Department has taken a lease of the Empress State Building at Earl's Court in order to replace certain leased buildings where the leases cannot be renewed on expiry or could be renewed only on much less favourable terms. On the question of financial terms and costs, I would refer to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, West (Mr. John Page) on 18th July. I can say, however, that the leasing of this large office building away from the expensive Central London area will lead to considerable savings to my Department.

May I ask my right hon. Friend if he is aware that the Answer which he gave to my hon. Friend for Harrow. West (Mr. John Page) does not cover my second Question, No. 5? I asked my right hon. Friend the cost to public funds, not the lease, and whether it would, in fact, be a saving or an increase in expenditure. Could he give me that information?

I am not prepared to give my hon. Friend the information, in so far as the amount charged for the rent would emerge, for the reasons which I gave last time, but, overall, the facts are as I stated. This will result in a saving.