HC Deb 15 November 1965 vol 720 cc662-3
17 and 18. Mr. Grant

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works (1) what representations he has received from the Royal Institute of British Architects regarding the findings of their inquiry into restrictions on building, details of which were received on 13th October 1965; and whether he will make a statement;

(2) what representations he has received from the National Federation of Building Trades Employers regarding the findings of their inquiry into restrictions on building works, details of which he has received; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. C. Pannell

I met these bodies and a statement was sent to the Press. I am sending a copy to the hon. Member.

Mr. Grant

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for that reply and for sending me a copy. Nevertheless, is he aware that these reports reveal a serious state of affairs, with over £500 million worth of orders having been cancelled between July and September, a downtrend in output by the end of 1966, and that 7 per cent. unemployed in architects' offices is anticipated by the end of the year? What action is the right hon. Gentleman taking to halt this trend?

Mr. Pannell

I did not accept all the assumptions. Nor did I accept the basis on which they were made. As a matter of fact, we have made a careful analysis of all these figures. For example, it is customary for a great deal of work, in normal times, to get on to the drawing board but to get no further. This figure ran into many millions of pounds. It was included in the statistics when I met those concerned.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Are not the cancellations in this case on a much larger scale than in previous years and is it not a fact that, in the face of this anticipated falling-off of work in this industry, it is madness to impose building licensing on top of it?

Mr. Pannell

It is difficult to answer these complicated matters in reply to a supplementary, but I will try to do so as shortly as possible. Broadly speaking. last year there was overheating in the industry to the tune of about £100 million. It would have been £140 million this year. To take up the slack which will become apparent next year, I have already announced that I am prepared to receive applications for building licences in advance of the Bill and that I will let the most urgent projects through the pipeline. [Interruption.] That is what we call planning.