§ LORD LAMINGTON,
in rising to ask whether the Government would delay the erection of any building in Parliament Street until the plan of the whole proposed improvements from Whitehall to the Houses of Parliament had been submitted to Parliament, and to move for a Return of the rents paid for the hire of public offices other than the War Office and the Admiralty, said, that he had taken an interest in this matter for over 30 years. There had been many Committees to inquire into it, and the last appointed in 1877, of which he was Chairman, reported that the Government Offices should be concentrated. He was most anxious that the Government should avoid committing the grievous error which he thought they were about to fall into. He understood, as far as he could judge from what appeared in the newspapers, that it was now intended to take down the present buildings in Parliament Street, and widen that thoroughfare; but to his great regret he saw it was not intended to use the ground so gained, for the concentration of Public Offices, but to let it on building leases. If that were done, it would be the greatest blunder possible; whereas, if Government Offices were erected on the land, not only would the appearance of the neighbourhood be improved, and the convenience of Public Departments consulted, but there would also be a saving of £35,000 annually, and the buildings could be erected for about £800,000,
§ Moved, "That there he laid before this House, Return of the rents paid for the hire of public offices other than the War Office and Admiralty."—(The Lord Lamington.)
said, that, in reply to the first portion of the Question, he was directed to say that it would be necessary to apply to Parliament for further powers before proceeding with the erection of Public Offices in Parliament Street; and when that application was made, it would be accompanied by a complete plan of what it was proposed to build, and Members of both Houses of Parliament would have a full opportunity of expressing their opinions as to the merits of the scheme. With regard to the second portion of the Question, his noble Friend would find the information he desired in the Estimates presented annually to Parliament, in Class I. of the Revenue Departments and Customs, as regarded most of the Public Offices that were hired, and as regarded the Post Office and Telegraph Offices in Estimates 3 and 5 of the Revenue Department expenses.
§ THE EARL OF REDESDALE (CHAIRMAN of COMMITTEES)
said, the noble Lord had not answered the Question of his noble Friend. He thought the Question was, whether it was intended to let the ground in Parliament Street on building leases? He would, therefore, ask the noble Lord whether it was a fact that Parliament Street was going to be pulled down for the purpose of letting the ground on building leases?
THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY
said, that the Questions on the Paper had been replied to; but if there were any other Questions on the subject, Notice should be given of them.
§ On Question? Resolved in the negative.