HC Deb 20 April 1964 vol 693 cc856-7
20. Mr. Lawson

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works what progress has been made with establishing in Scotland the National Building Agency.

Mr. Sharples

The Chairman informs me that the Agency intends to commence operations in Scotland as soon as possible. Both he and the Deputy Chairman have been to Scotland. Negotiations are in progress for the acquisition of a suitable office in Edinburgh; and the Agency hopes to staff and open this office by June this year.

Mr. Lawson

Would the Parliamentary Secretary bear in mind that his right hon. Friend has a reputation for hustle and bustle and that we would have expected something more than this to have been done by now? Since the date has been given, will he remember that we have hopes for great things from this Agency which is to be established in Scotland and that we will watch its development with great interest?

Mr. Sharples

We hope so too, but I do not think that June is too bad.

Mr. W. Hamilton

Will the hon. Gentleman reconsider the question of the siting of the office? Is he not aware that the Government's policy of dispersal is running counter to the suggestion that these things should be sited always either in Edinburgh or Glasgow, and is it not reasonable to suggest that this office should be sited in a smaller town, perhaps further north in Scotland?

Mr. Sharples

The question of siting is a matter for the Agency itself. The Agency must work closely with the Scottish Development Department and with my Ministry's Scottish headquarters and it must also be readily accessible to local authorities, professional institutions and building trade bodies. It was for that reason that the Agency decided that the best place for it to be sited was Edinburgh.