HC Deb 10 May 1965 vol 712 cc26-7
39. Mr. Carmichael

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works if he is aware that the German Federal Republic expect to reach a house building target of 700,000 houses this year; what studies his Department are making of European building methods with a view to adapting them where applicable to British conditions; and if he will seek to send a Parliamentary delegation to examine European housing standards and targets.

Mr. Boyden

I understand that the West German Housing Minister recently announced a target of 600,000 dwelling for 1965.

We continue to study and apply European building methods wherever we think such methods will be helpful to the British building industry.

I welcome my hon. Friend's interest in these matters, and will gladly consider with those concerned the possibility of a Parliamentary delegation.

Mr. Carmichael

I thank my hon. Friend for the little piece of hope he held out at the end, that a delegation to Western Germany may be considered. On my information the West Germans expect to build nearly 700,000 houses in 1965. This will bring the total over the last three years to almost 2 million. Does not my hon. Friend think that something may be available in Germany which we have not caught on to here and which will greatly increase our housing output?

Mr. Boyden

Conditions are very different in Germany. My Department and other Departments in the Government take every note they can of matters that help. I doubt whether a direct comparison is as useful as my hon. Friend thinks.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Can the hon. Gentleman say how many of the impressive total of houses built in Germany he mentioned are built by public and how many by private enterprise?

Mr. Boyden

No, not without notice.

Mr. Richard

Is my hon. Friend aware that the figure which was published by the West German Government of houses completed last year was 623,000? Can my hon. Friend say why the Conservative Government did not get anywhere near that figure in 13 years' rule?

Mr. Boyden

I have a feeling that at certain stages of the last Administration the housebuilding programme was used as a political card.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Do these German figures apply to houses or to housing units?

Mr. Boyden

"Housing units" was the phrase I originally had, but "dwellings" sounded nicer.