HC Deb 14 January 1964 vol 687 cc13-4
18. Mr. Merlyn Rees

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs to what extent the fact that the total of qualified town planning staffs in all the planning authorities in the East and West Ridings is the lowest, proportionate to population, of all the regions of England, has resulted in the slowing up of necessary planning projects; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Corfield

The shortage of people competent to advise planning authorities on the increasingly complex problems that confront them is a source of great anxiety to my right hon. Friend and me. We think this applies in all parts of the country, and doubt if it is more serious in the East and West Ridings than in some other parts.

This is receiving the attention of the universities and the professional bodies. My right hon. Friend is keeping in close touch, and will do anything he can to help.

Mr. Rees

Can the Minister tell us why it is that the situation is so bad in the East and West Ridings, as compared with anywhere else, and who is ultimately responsible for seeing that a sufficient number of these valuable men are trained?

Mr. Corfield

The universities and professional bodies are stepping up the provision of training facilities. The hon. Member will realise that the complexity of planning which gives rise to this increasing demand also gives rise to the need for fairly lengthy training—so it is not a matter which can be cured overnight.