§ Mr. Rathbone
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the reason for moving part of the Ministry from Great Westminster house to Nobel house, including the cost effects of that move.
§ Mr. Curry
The move of some 1,100 staff of this Ministry from Great Westminster house at the end of 1988 was necessary because the lease had expired and the building was to be demolished. For reasons of working efficiency it was decided that the displaced staff should be rehoused in central London reasonably close to our Whitehall offices. The only suitable accommodation which the PSA were able to provide was in Nobel house and part of the adjacent building, Ergon house.
The costs falling to this Ministry for refurbishment, construction and fitting out of both buildings, which was 476W managed by the PSA, totalled approximately £14 million, with a further £484,000 for IT cabling and £97,000 for removals. Annual accommodation charges increased by some £5 million from the relatively low level the Ministry was paying for poor quality accommodation on a long lease. This is offset to a degree by a significant decrease in maintenance and fuel and utilities costs.