HC Deb 09 August 1966 vol 733 cc1378-9
23. Mr. Crouch

asked the Minister of Technology what directions he has given to the British Standards Institution to revise standards which are now considered out of date.

Mr. Dell

Steps have been taken to ensure that the British Standards Institution is in a better position to speed the updating of standards.

Mr. Crouch

Will the Minister bear in mind the great importance of the British Standards Institution and give the House an assurance that his Ministry will take urgent steps to see that the British Standards Institution is strengthened?

Mr. Dell

We are very well aware of the importance of the British Standards Institution and have taken a number of steps to assist it. For instance, there has been an increase in Government grant contributions from 75 per cent. to 100 per cent.

Dr. Gray

Will my hon. Friend ask British Standards Institution to improve standards from the point of view of stringency both in quality and safety? I am thinking particularly of electrical apparatus, because its standards compare poorly with continental countries, particularly Holland and Sweden.

Mr. Dell

I shall certainly bring the remarks of my hon. Friend to the notice of the Institution.

Mr.David Price

Does the hon. Gentleman agree that the two biggest obstacles to achieving what the House wants are shortages of engineers in the B.S.I. and the extremely complicated machinery by which the committees write new standards? Will he assure us that he will take action on both these points?

Mr. Dell

I accept the hon. Member's first point. We are doing a great deal to assist in this matter by the use of people from research stations. On the second point, we have had a management consultants report on B.S.I. as a result of which there has been some streamlining of procedure.