§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—[Lord Stanley of Alderley.)
§ LORD REDESDALE
said, he regretted that the Government did not purchase all the land they required at once, instead of coming from time to time for powers to do so. Every year's delay increased the value of the land from the very fact that as they commenced building they greatly enhanced the value of the land in the immediate neighbourhood, and ultimately they were obliged to purchase it at a much higher rate than if they had taken it in the first instance. He considered the present site was the most desirable they could possess, if it was intended to concentrate in the neighbourhood of Westminster all the public offices; but he regretted that by the course pursued by the Government in acquiring the land, they were each year adding to its value before they took powers to purchase it. For instance, they had bought one side of Charles Street, and of King Street, and, of course, the other side had become more valuable because of the handsome structures they were raising in front of it. By this Bill they proposed to buy Charles Street up to a place called Gardiner's Lane, one of the worst and filthiest parts of Westminster. They might take powers to acquire the whole of the land that would be ultimately required without necessarily displacing the present occupiers sooner than it was actually necessary, or than they were now doing by these piece-meal purchases. The Government appeared to him to be pursuing the worst sort of economy, and, which he regretted to see, they were practising year after year.
THE EARL OF LONGFORD
said, that there were no less than five Acts of Parliament referred to in the preamble of the Bill in connection with this subject. The accumulation of Acts for one purpose had been a subject of constant complaint, and was found embarrassing in legal proceedings. He only hoped that those who would have to transact the 560 business in the new buildings would be conveniently accommodated, and would not be exposed to those cold draughts, arising from scientific ventilation, which afflicted the Lords Spiritual and Temporal assembled in Parliament.
§ LORD STANLEY OF ALDERLEY
said, that at present most of the land required was in the hands of the Government. It, no doubt, would have been more advantageous if they could have acquired the whole that would have been required at one time; but the House of Commons looked with jealousy on large demands for money with which to make these purchases, considering that the Government were asking for more than was actually required at the time the vote was taken.
§ Motion agreed to: Bill read 2a, and committed for Monday next.