Sir Alexander Gibb and Partners.

Oral Answers to Questions — Works and Buildings. – in the House of Commons on 11th February 1942.

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Photo of Mr Richard Stokes Mr Richard Stokes , Ipswich

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works and Buildings what was the total sum during the year ended 31st December, 1941, or other convenient date, reimbursed to Sir Alexander Gibb and Partners in respect of salaries and expenses of staff quantity surveyors and special consultants over and above the fee of £15,000; and what was the total value of the work allocated to this firm on behalf of the Ministry during the same period?

Photo of Mr George Hicks Mr George Hicks , Woolwich East

It is estimated that the expenditure on salaries and expenses of professional and clerical staff and fees of quantity surveyors and sub-consultants from the commencement of the work, December, 1940, until 31st March, 1942, will amount to £358,000. The value of the work carried out under the direction of the firm during the same period is estimated to amount to £8,700,000.

Photo of Mr Austin Hopkinson Mr Austin Hopkinson , Mossley

Is it not a public scandal that the Director-General of a Department should be a partner in a firm which has contractual relations with that Department and is drawing enormous fees in the course of a year?

Photo of Mr George Hicks Mr George Hicks , Woolwich East

I have answered that Question on several occasions when it has been put to me in this House. The Director-General of the Ministry of Works and Buildings is no longer an active member of this firm.

Photo of Major Abraham Lyons Major Abraham Lyons , Leicester East

Was he a member of this firm at the time the contracts, or at any rate a large number of them, were given out?

Photo of Mr George Hicks Mr George Hicks , Woolwich East

At the time I have indicated, in 1940, he was not Director-General of the Ministry of Works and Buildings but Controller of Building Materials.

Photo of Mr Austin Hopkinson Mr Austin Hopkinson , Mossley

Is it not a fact that the Director of Works is a partner in a firm which is in contractual relations with the Minister and that the Director of Standardisation is also in the same position? Will not the hon. Gentleman investigate this matter and stop this crying public scandal?

Photo of Mr George Hicks Mr George Hicks , Woolwich East

The hon. Gentleman is asking me another question now. He first asked me whether the Director-General resigned his association with his firm at the time he became a member of the Department. There is another Question on the Paper about the hon. Gentleman's second point.