HC Deb 20 April 1964 vol 693 cc851-2
10. Mr. Wingfield Digby

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works what progress he has made in the standardisation of living accommodation design for all three Services.

Mr. Rippon

My Ministry and the Ministry of Defence have already agreed on common cost limits and we shall soon have agreed common scales of accommodation. I shall shortly be letting a contract for 2,000 houses to a standard scale to be built by industrialised methods, for use by all three Services.

Mr. Digby

I welcome that reply. What economy in cost does my right hon. Friend expect from having uniform designs?

Mr. Rippon

I did not refer to uniform designs. I referred to a uniform scale. I think I had better wait until. I can announce the details of the contract.

Mr. C. Pannell

Is the Minister aware that when some of us looked at his exhibition at the Ministry of Public Building and Works, some Members of the House expressed the common opinion—there were members of all parties there—that the general difference between officer accommodation and other rank accommodation was too marked? Will the right hon. Gentleman look at this question? There is a degree of palatialness about officer accommodation which is not always apparent with other rank accommodation.

Mr. Rippon

That concerns a number of Departments which have a say in the scales. I think it can be said that the scales of accommodation for both officers and men are now pretty good.

Mr. P. Williams

Will my right hon. Friend give an assurance that, when standardisation of design is achieved, this will enable those producing industrialised housing to compete very fairly?

Mr. Rippon

I do not envisage standardisation of design. I think that the use of these new methods will enable us to have a wider variety of designs and better designs.