HC Deb 14 March 1961 vol 636 cc1172-3
17. Captain Litchfield

asked the Parliamentary Secretary for Science what is the purpose of the survey of modern office blocks, instituted by the Central Office of Information on behalf of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research; what is the number of persons, directly or indirectly, engaged on this survey; and what will be its total cost.

Mr. Denzil Freeth

The purpose is to analyse experience in the use of recent office buildings in order to improve design of future buildings. Thirty part-time interviewers will be employed for one month under a senior information officer, and some technical staff for analysis of the data. Estimated cost of this survey is £5,500.

Captain Litchfield

Does my hon. Friend need this information? Does he not agree that investigations of this sort, even of a modest kind, should be reduced to those that are really essential?

Mr. Freeth

I think that this is a survey that can do a lot of good in making people happier in offices and, therefore, more efficient. We believe that a great deal more information is still needed on, for example, such aspects as the inadequacies of heating, lighting, ventilation and noise reduction.

Mr. Albu

Will the Parliamentary Secretary not listen to his ractionary friends behind him, but realise that the use of social science research will be of great help to those constructing buildings, especially in view of the ignorance of most architects on this subject?

Mr. Freeth

I have no doubt that the Question of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Chelsea (Captain Litchfield) was born of a natural desire to conserve the nation's financial resources; I naturally support the desire of the hon. Member for Edmonton (Mr. Albu) to have the maximum amount of information that we can get within the resources available.