HC Deb 18 February 1964 vol 689 cc996-8
6. Mr. Temple

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works what progress he has made in the establishment of the National Building Agency.

Mr. Rippon

I have appointed the Agency's board of directors. I am pleased to say that Mr. Thomas V. Prosser, Managing Director of Wm. Thornton & Sons, Ltd., Liverpool, has accepted appointment as Chairman and Managing Director, and Mr. A. W. Cleeve Barr, Chief Architect of the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, has accepted appointment as Deputy Chairman and Chief Architect. These appointments are full time.

I have also appointed twelve part-time directors. With permission I will circulate their names in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

In making these appointments I have sought to ensure that the board will broadly reflect the views of those who will be most closely affected by the Agency's work.

Mr. Temple

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the appointment of Mr. Thomas Prosser, who is extremely well known in the building industry and highly respected, will give very great confidence to the industry? Would my right hon. Friend like to give an assurance to the House that there is no intention of the National Building Agency itself engaging in any form of building, and would he also tell the House whether he has had specal regard to amenity problems in his appointments?

Mr. Rippon

I am indeed glad that Mr. Prosser has agreed to undertake this public work. I am sure that he will enjoy wide confidence. I made it perfectly clear in the White Paper which I published at the end of last year that the Agency will not itself build or contract. I certainly hope, however, that it will do a very great deal to ensure more efficient building—not only faster and cheaper building but better building—and I am glad to say that the Director of the Civic Trust is one of the people who have agreed to serve as part-time members of the board.

Mr. C. Pannell

Even as it is, is the Minister aware that the National Federation of Builders and Plumbers Merchants already thinks, presumably, that the powers given to the Agency are far too great, but that, in contradistinction to that, we on this side of the House think that this is the foundation of something which can be improved by the Government to come and that the National Building Agency should have the power to build in those cases where it is in the national interest to do so?

Mr. Rippon

As it is a Conservative Government which is to come, I am sure that the Agency will grow in strength. It is true, perhaps, that a number of people have been misled by the hon. Member and his hon. Friends into thinking of this as creeping Socialism, but this horse is a much better breed than the lumbering Clause 4 carthorse which the party opposite is endeavouring to bring up to the starting post. I do not think that the Agency should have the powers which the Opposition would like to give it.

Following are the names: Mr. John Bedford. O.B.E., Chairman and Managing Director of Debenham's Ltd.

General Sir Geoffrey Bourne, G.C.B., K.B.E., C.M.G., Formerly General Officer Commanding Berlin, Commander-in-Chief, Middle East Land Forces and Commandant, Imperial Defence College.

Mr. Peter Dunican, M.I. Struct. E., Partner in Ove, Arup and Partners, Consulting Engineers.

Mr. Victor Feather, C.B.E., Assistant General Secretary, Trades Union Congress.

Mr. W. Sinclair Gauldie F.R.I.B.A., P.R.I.A.S., Member of the architectural firm of Gauldie, Hardie, Wright and Needham of Dundee.

Mr. S. Johnson-Marshall, C.B.E., B.Arch., A.R.I.B.A., Partner in the architectural firm of Robert Matthew and Johnson-Marshall, formerly Chief Architect of the Ministry of Education.

Mr. Leslie Lane, F.R.I.C.S.. M.T.P.I., Director of, he Civic Trust, a Senior Vice President of the Town Planning Institute, formerly Planning Officer of London County Council.

Mr. Kingsley Longstaff, Clerk to the Castle Ward Rural District Council.

Alderman J. B. Maudsley. C.B.E., Maidenhead Borough Council. Chairman of the Executive Committee of Non-County Boroughs for England and Wales.

>Dr. J. W. Macfarlane, Ph.D., Wh. Sc., M. I. E. E., M. I. Mech. E., F.R.S.E., D.L., J.P., Chairman, Planning Committee, Renfrew County Council and the immediate Past President, Association of County Councils in Scotland.

Alderman F. A. Small, C.B.E., D.L., J.P., Chairman, Nottinghamshire County Council.

Mr. Peter Trench, O.B.E., T.D., B.S.c, J.P., Currently Director of the National Federation of Building Trades Employers.