§ 40. Lieutenant-Colonel Sir J. NORTON GRIFFITHS
asked the First Commissioner of Works whether premises are still being held in London by the Government which the owners are anxious to have re stored to them, while huts are being sold privately and by public auction; and, if this is so, whether instructions will be given to erect these huts on vacant spaces in and around London for the purpose of transferring to them the staffs now occupying commandeered buildings?
§ The FIRST COMMISSIONER of WORKS (Sir Alfred Mond)
The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative; as regards the last part, huts are already being and will be utilised wherever possible for the purpose mentioned by the hon. Member; some will, in fact, be used on the site being acquired at Acton.
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
Could not some of the commandeered buildings be given up, and thereby save unnecessary expense?
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a large number of these premises are being used for storing away Government letters which are filed away and could be removed to the country or else burned?
If the right hon. Gentleman will visit the offices at present occupied by the Petrol Committee in Berkeley Street he will find the ground floor so occupied.
§ 41. Sir N. GRIFFITHS
asked the First Commissioner of Works whether he is aware of the great inconvenience caused to the public through the retention by the Government of various important buildings commandeered for purposes of war; and whether, in view of the fact that there are a considerable number of suitable premises available, provided adequate rent is paid for them, he will take steps to have those premises, which are urgently required, vacated, or, in lieu thereof, pay their owners, a fair market rate for their continued use by the Government?
§ Sir A. MOND
The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative; as regards the last part, exhaustive enquiries do not support the statement that there are a considerable number of suitable premises available which could be secured for the purpose suggested. If, however, the hon. Member can give me particulars of any such premises I should be only too pleased to consider them. Compensation for loss occasioned by Government occupation during the War is paid under the Awards of the Defence of the Realm Losses Royal Commission, and if occupation should be continued after the Declaration of Peace rent or compensation will be payable under the Defence of the Realm (Acquisition of Land) Act, 1916.
§ Mr. BILLING
May I ask whether the right hon. Gentleman has considered the 314 advisability of taking over the large and commodious premises of the German, Embassy at Carlton House Terrace?