HC Deb 01 November 1966 vol 735 cc391-420

10.25 p.m.

The Minister of Public Building and Works (Mr. Reginald Prentice)

I beg to move, That the Building Control (Cost Limit Exemption) Order 1966 (S.I., 1966, No. 997), dated 9th August, 1966, a copy of which was laid before this House on 10th August, be approved. The effect of this Order is that, as from 11th August, the cost limit below which work is exempt from control under the Building Control Act is reduced from £100,000 to £50,000. In other words, a building licence is required for works of construction or alterations costing £50,000 or more if they were not started or contracted for before 11th August and if they are not exempt on other grounds. The House will remember from the terms of the Building Control Act that the majority of building operations are exempt on other grounds. This Act does not apply to housing, public authority building, industrial building, or building in development areas. It applies to less than 10 per cent. of building activity over all.

The effect of reducing the limit from £100,000 to £50,000 is, in statistical terms, approximately this. First, I should perhaps say that more than once my hon. Friends and I have said in relation to the Building Control Act that when its main provisions applied control over £100,000 it was likely to affect in one year something like 500 building projects and building activity amounting to £180 million.

Today is perhaps a convenient day for checking on those figures, because it was a year ago today that my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, West (Mr. C. Pannell) first invited applications under this system. We find that the total value of applications received during the 12 months up to today was £180.1 million, which shows that the estimate was very good indeed. I should, perhaps, qualify this and point out that since 11th August it has included some projects between £50,000 and £100,000, amounting to £7.4 million altogether. The number of applications has been 623, of which 102 have been in the lower bracket and 521 in the higher bracket.

The scope of the Act as it was before the Order was made was approximately, as borne out by the figures, that it affected about 500 building projects a year to the total value of £180 million. The effect of this Order is to increase the scope to include about twice as many building projects, the increase being from about 500 to about 1,000 a year. In value the increase will be from £180 million to about £220 million a year. The Order is in very simple terms and I do not think I need dwell upon it. I emphasise that it is in no sense retrospective. The House is sensitive on this point, and rightly so. We had talks about it in connection with the Act, and I think the House would not have wished this Order to be retrospective in any sense.

We perhaps ran a slight risk here in that the intention to introduce the Order was announced by the Prime Minister on 20th July and there was a gap from then to 11th August in which there might have been attempts to forestall the Order, but this did not happen on any significant scale. The case for the Order is simple and again one with which the House will be familiar. It was part of the package of economic measures announced by the Prime Minister on 20th July and it was part of the purpose of those measures to reduce demand in the domestic economy.

I should have thought it was logical and made good sense to say that, in so far as there had to be a reduction in demand and in so far as that reduction in demand had to affect the construction industries to some extent, it was reasonable that the construction industry should be curtailed to some extent in the private sector as well as in the public sector. This is a view which I know is not shared on the benches opposite.

Hon. Members opposite, I understand, propose to vote against this Order, which is perhaps logical in the sense that they voted against all stages of the Building Control Act. But they have to face the logic of their position, which is not a widely held position in the country. They are saying that if and when economic measures are needed in relation to building they would apply them only in the public sector and not in the private sector at all. They would be prepared to hold back on primary schools or hospitals but not on private proposals for office development or development of shopping centres and the like. Our view is that control ought to be a more flexible instrument and ought to be applied where necessary both in the private and public sectors. Therefore, I think that the decision to lay this Order—a decision which was part of the package of economic measures announced on 20th July—was a logical and good part of that package.

There is one further point that I should make. We could have proceeded to increase the degree of control without laying the Order. We could have been content with keeping the level of £100,000 and simply licensing fewer of the projects that came forward costing over £100,000. But I put it to the House that it was sensible, in view of the intention to have a larger degree of control, to give ourselves this greater amount of flexibility. The present policy of the Government—the policy that has operated since July to which I have referred and to which my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary has referred on other occasions—is to license about half—in practice it is a little more than half—of the projects which are coming forward.

Therefore, I think it is better to be able, where it is in the public interest, to refuse some within the bracket of £50,000 to £100,000 and thereby to be able to allow some extra ones within the levels above £100,000 which otherwise would have to be refused. Within the figures that I have already given, this is only a modest measure and it will have only a modest effect on those projects above £100,000 but it will have some effect, and it is useful to that extent.

The House may be interested to know that in the period since the Order was laid the number of projects authorised have been 91 with a total value of £17.6 million, and within that total there have been 37 with a total value of £2.7 million which come within the bracket of £50,000 to £100,000. The total refused overall is 60 projects costing £10.3 million and within these there have been 18 projects costing £1.3 million in the lower bracket. This illustrates the point that this extra flexibility has had the modest effect of giving us the power to take a more liberal view of projects in the higher range.

It has one other advantage, in that when we are speaking of projects within the range of £50,000 to £100,000 we are speaking of projects which will normally have a shorter building time. Therefore, in so far as we refuse some projects within that bracket, we shall have an effect on construction activity which is shorter in time than if we were refusing projects of the same value in the higher bracket. This again is useful in the sense that one thing that concerns all of us is the fear that because economic changes come along at such a pace decisions made in the construction industry in one year may not be appropriate in the following year.

This is a case logically for the whole Act and the policy under it although the hon. Gentleman has never seen that and always seemed to argue the reverse. That because planning is difficult we should not plan seems to be his outlook on this. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] For this reason, it is marginally better to exercise part of the control within the lower bracket rather than exercise the whole above the level of £100,000.

I therefore submit that we are making a logical use of the Act in a period when the economic situation has made it necessary for us to exercise a fairly high degree of restraint. The building industry accepted the Act without any noticeable protest, and has accepted this extension in the same way. The kind of opposition which we heard from hon. Members opposite during the passage of the Act has found no echo outside, and if they want to go through the motions of opposing this Order I am sure that their action will appear to those outside to be as irrelevant as their attitude to the Act itself.

10.37 p.m.

Mr. R. Chichester-Clark (Londonderry)

Many of us must have listened to the Minister tonight with the feeling, "Here we go again". There must be a number of deaf ears on the Treasury Bench if they have not heard from the industry the objections to the Measure with which we are now dealing. When the deplorable Building Control Act was approaching the end of its unhappy course through the House, we hoped that we had heard the last of that fatuous Measure, but before it had even cleared the House the Government had the effrontery to announce the tightening of the squeeze which was only in existence by retrospective threat.

There have been two Building Control Bills before the House in recent months, and both had no justification, though there have been many different attempts at justification by many different spokesmen. Sometimes we were told that it was to prevent overheating, sometimes to correlate demand and capacity, and sometimes to make a direct impact on the balance of payments. This last was the Prime Minister's contribution on 20th July. The Building Control Act itself, which we always said was an irrelevant and damaging Measure, passed through the House by majority rather than merit, and the Order now before us is one of the most meaningless political gestures ever made in the House by any Minister of Public Building and Works, and should not pass through the House.

The new control began on 11th August, but was not retrospective to the Prime Minister's statement of 20th July. It is therefore concerned only with building which had neither begun nor been contracted for before 11th August. Therefore, it cannot have the slightest effect upon the construction industry until 1967, except to add to the veil of gloom which has overhung the industry since 1965, and to sap further the confidence so badly needed.

The Minister might have told us—I rather think that he did—that the Government's new cuts would have had the immediate effect of discouraging developers from going ahead at the planning stage, and he suggested tonight that attempts had not been made to forestall the Order. In fact, I suspect that quite a number of professional developers believed in advance that these measures would come forward in the 20th July statement, and placed contracts worth between £50,000 and £100,000 immediately to avoid any new restrictions.

Later the Government appeared to be trying to take some virtue for the larger volume of orders reported in the building industry, even though it was premeditation of the Government's actions that may well have brought about a larger volume of so-called "inessential" development than might otherwise have occurred. During the Committee stage of the Building Control Bill, my hon. Friend the Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Mr. Costain) gave warning that that sort of thing could happen. Unfortunately, the warning was not heeded.

I said earlier that the Order would not have any effect on the industry till 1967, and the Minister did not challenge that tonight. Well he might not, because, apart from what he told us here tonight, he himself said very sagely on 2nd May: … We are not discussing the state of the construction industry now. Any decision taken now and any taken in the months ahead when the Bill becomes law will really be affecting the pressure on the construction industry in 1967 and 1968."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 2nd May, 1966; Vol. 727, c. 1242.] He is absolutely right about that. How often have we said in the House that the building industry may be a good indicator but it is the worst of all regulators because of the time which measures of this kind take to bite.

What, then, are we doing with this Order? "Anticipating a future crisis"? The Parliamentary Secretary will remember those words. Or just fiddling with the capacity of the industry? Does not the Prime Minister listen to his colleagues? Did he really believe on 20th July that the action we are now discussing would make a direct impact on our balance of payments? Certainly, the Government spokesman in the other place last Thursday seemed to think so, as, I think, the Minister did tonight.

But even if the Prime Minister does not mean what he says—a proposition which sometimes commands some support in the House—and even if the real reason is something to do with regulating the capacity of the industry, we are bound to ask: what on earth was the Government spokesman, Lord Hilton of Upton, talking about in the other place on 12th July last when he said that the machinery provided by the Building Control Bill will not be used to restrict for restriction's sake; it will be used to defer work when the capacity of the industry is insufficient to carry out all it is asked to do".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, House of Lords, 12th July, 1966; Vol. 276, c. 85.] That was what was said on 12th July. On 20th July we got the Prime Minister's measures. Just what dramatic change had taken place in the capacity of the industry in one short week? I hope that we shall have a straight answer to that question tonight. So far, we have had none.

The magazine Building got rather closer to the truth in saying that, as regards the contracting and labour employing side of the industry, these further restrictions will have little effect for six or more months to come, adding that it was difficult not to discern in the Government's renewed reliance on the building industry as an economic regulator an element of window-dressing.

May we have a straight answer tonight? What is the reason? Why is this ridiculous Order before us? Is it in anticipation of a future economic crisis? Was the Parliamentary Secretary on one occasion as prophetic as I suspect he now thinks he was? Was it an invisible act of God which invisibly changed the whole capacity of the industry in one week? Or was it just window-dressing?

The Order represents the tightening of one aspect of the Government's ever-increasing nexus of controls on the industry. At the same time, they have brought the whole of South-East England and the East and West Midlands under the scope of the Control of the Office and Industrial Development Act, 1965, and they are now cutting back on £55 million of allegedly inessential public sector building and £95 million of work for nationalised industries in 1967–68.

All this amounts to an ever harsher squeeze on the industry, and this has been reflected in the further deterioration in builders' order books, as was shown in the recent state of trade inquiry by the National Federation of Building Trade Employers completed on 21st October. Replies from 419 firms, a cross-section both by size of firm and by location, showed that inquiries, work in progress and work ready to start are all continuing to fall away. Almost 60 per cent. of the firms replying said that they would carry out less work in 1967 than they will in 1966. That is a pretty disturbing prospect.

But there is another disturbing factor here. The reports of the earlier inquiries of the N.F.B.T.E. suggested that there was one element of Government policy, at least, which might be meeting with some success. It appeared from earlier inquiries says the N.F.B.T.E., that the central policy of steering work to the development areas was having some of the desired effects. But not this time, not in this survey. It now appears that both Scotland and the North-East are sharing in the down-turn. In this connection, the Statist pointed out during the summer some curious features of building licensing which, I am sure, the right hon. Gentleman will note. It showed that office blocks were coming off best and hotels worst—a rather curious situation when we have the Board of Trade dithering about financial assistance on hotels while the right hon. Gentleman's Ministry cuts them back. But that is another point.

It also showed that so far from the development areas receiving favourable treatment, Wales had refused one-quarter of the value in buildings while North-East suffered also as severely with a refusal rate of 21 per cent. In May this year, the Parliamentary Secretary had something to say about the North-East. Perhaps if I quote him I can give this prophet a timely opportunity to wrest back some of the honour he may otherwise lose in his own country. He said: Apart from the period of a freak blizzard in December last year, unemployment in the building industry has, month by month, been lower in the last winter than for a very long time…. A Labour winter is as good as a Tory summer. This winter? Would he care to repeat that, amend it or forget all about it? I think that we can best evaluate that prophecy when we read later in the same speech the round declaration: It is true to say that Labour's management of the economy is succeeding. Presumably the Government still believe—do they?—that by lowering the cost limit exemption they will in some way be affecting the provision of houses. But it can hardly be claimed that the Building Control Act has so far conspicuously shown any sign of affecting the provision of houses in the right way. In fact, all the signs appear to be to the contrary.

Since the Act began to operate, from 27th July, 1965, the rate of housing starts has dropped very sharply, brick stockpiles have shot up and the state of the housing market is leading to short-time working and closures. The truth is that, for those who will not learn, history does repeat itself. The country has seen all this before. Even the words are the same. There is a conicidence here worth relating to the House. In 1945, the then Labour Minister of Works said that the House would agree that the housing problem was so urgent that it should be "tackled like a military operation".

In 1947, we were promised 240,000 completions; we got just under 140,000. In 1964 the Prime Minister exhorted We have pledged ourselves to tackle the housing problem like a wartime operation. In both 1965 and 1966 we were officially promised 400,000 homes and in both years the target has been lamentably missed. The same words—the same failure—a failure which this Order will do nothing to redeem.

Under Defence Regulation 56A, the post-war Labour Government had control of all works of construction, demolition, repairs and alterations by a strict licensing system. The Conservative Government of 1951–55 steadily dismantled the control system and the final controls were removed with the revocation of 56A in November, 1954. Here I want to call in aid a useful and official verdict on these events. I wonder whether the right hon. Gentleman reads all the official pronouncements which are put out concerning the responsibilities of his and other kindred Government Departments. If so, presumably he does not demur from this statement: Since building controls were taken off in 1954, output has risen steadily. By the end of 1965 output (by value) was running at an annual rate more than 50 per cent. above the level of 1958. Truth will out, even from Government sources. This particular oracle is "Fact Sheets on Britain—The Construction Industries", put out by the Central Office of Information in 1966.

But the lesson is not learned and we have new controls and the tightening of the screw with this Order. As after the war, the effects have been and will be felt far beyond the intention and all other construction has suffered and will suffer.

I want to say a word about the way in which this Order has reached us, because the history of its coming has not only contributed to a loss of vital confidence in the industry but has also added to the growth of cynicism about the conduct of our affairs. On 20th November, 1964, the former Minister of Public Building and Works was asked: Is it your intention to impose further controls or licensing beyond the halt to office building in the metropolitan area? He replied: No … and it is not the Government's intention to impose further controls because we see the industry in a positive, not a negative way. … In any case, to introduce controls would take up Parliamentary time and controls, even if introduced, could not be effective for a 12 month. As my hon. Friends will remember, we were told that the industry was in a generally satisfactory state of affairs. There is no need to dwell on what actually happened.

Later in the Committee on the Bill we forced out of the Government not only a provision that controls would not affect building projects under £50,000, but also a promise that there would be no immediate lowering of the exemption limit to that figure. The then Minister said: I can assure the Committee that there is no intention at present to include anything below £100,000."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee E, 1st February, 1966; c. 206.] Speaking of the £50,000 he said: This is the figure which we could go down to although we never expect to do so."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee E, 17th February, 1966; c. 430.] That is what the building industry was led to expect, and yet on 11th August this Order was laid.

Perhaps no comment on this is needed from me, except to recall the Prime Minister's fondness for saying that in politics a week is a long time. For this Government's promises five months is a lifetime.

This Order is a mean and meaningless political gesture. It is irrelevant to the needs and problems of the country. Nothing the Minister has said tonight has done anything to change my views about it, and I advise my hon. Friends to do what they can to throw out this Order with the contempt which it deserves.

10.51 p.m.

Mr. H. P. G. Channon (Southend, West)

My hon. Friend the Member for Londonderry (Mr. Chichester-Clark) has very effectively deployed the arguments against the Order, but I want to ask what are the Government's intentions for the future. When the Order was introduced in another place, we were told categorically by the Government spokesman, Lord Hilton of Upton, that this control would be taken off as soon as possible. I thought that it was most significant that in the Minister's speech this evening we were not told anything of the kind. We are entitled to be told exactly what the Government intentions about the Order are and how long they expect this control to go on, or, if they cannot state a time, and I would quite understand that, what sort of factors would lead them to withdraw the Order and return to the £100,000 limit.

Moving the Order in the other place last week, Lord Hilton said: … this is regarded not so much as a permanent measure to reshape the control, but rather as a move designed primarily to meet exceptional circumstances. I thought that that was generally understood. He went on: … this is a serious matter and the control will not last a moment longer than is necessary."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, House of Lords, 27th October, 1966; Vol. 277, c. 371–5.] It would have been very helpful to the House if the Minister had repeated those assurances tonight, but, unless we get some information from the Parliamentary Secretary, the conclusion to be drawn will be that those are not the Minister's views.

My hon. Friend pointed out how misleading were the assurances given to the building and construction industries from the very moment that the Government came to office—the assurances given by the Minister's predecessor and the assurances given at all stages of the passage of the Building Control Act in two Parliaments. The building and construction industries have been misled time and time again. I do not blame the Minister personally for this, but if he imagines that there will not be resentment about this treatment, his information is different from mine.

The effect is obvious. Having been misled so many times, not unnaturally the building and construction industries are doubtful about the Government's intention for the future, because they do not know when they will be misled again. That is one of the gravest features of the Order. As my hon. Friend said, the Order itself cannot affect the balance of payments in any way and the Minister made no pretence of introducing it on the ground of any effect on the balance of payments. If the Parliamentary Secretary alleges that it will have any effect, perhaps he will tell us how.

The purpose of the 20th July measures was to have an effect upon the balance of payments, and I think that it can be claimed that this is so in the case of this Order. My hon. Friend the Member for Londonderry has also shown that the effect of this will be felt in 1967 and maybe 1968. How ironic it is that the Government should be introducing this Order to the House, tightening the squeeze, on a day when the Governor of the Bank of England issues a statement dealing with the easing of the squeeze. How typical of the forward planning of the Labour administration.

I ask the Parliamentary Secretary to answer these two questions. How does he think this Measure will affect the balance of payments and, secondly, what are the Government's intentions about its duration and the factors governing these matters which will lead the Government to remove them? I agree that this is a meaningless Order, brought in purely because it was felt that it would have some party political effect upon the Prime Minister's 20th July measures, and would mollify some of his hon. Friends who would be able to say, "We had a swipe at private building as well." This is typical of the way in which the Government have treated the building and construction industries, and I hope that the House will reject this Order.

10.56 p.m.

Mr. Peter Bessell (Bodmin)

We on this bench have always had grave doubts about the part of the Act permitting the Minister to present an Order of this kind to the House. My hon. Friend the Member for Inverness (Mr. Russell Johnston) in the debate which took place on 8th December last, forecast that something of this kind could very well happen, and that the £100,000 limit was something about which the Government might well have second thoughts. When he referred to this, particularly in connection with church buildings, manses and similar properties, the Minister's predecessor intervened hastily at col. 536 to assure my hon. Friend that £100,000 would amply cover the cost that he had in mind.

During the Second Reading debate on 2nd May, my hon. Friend the Member for Orpington (Mr. Lubbock) expressed considerable doubts about a limit, even of £100,000 and said that he felt that there was likely to be a great deal of confusion, difficulty and evasion. If there is a risk of evasion at a figure of £100,000, that risk is greatly increased by the content of this Order. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Londonderry (Mr. Chichester-Clark) quite properly pointed out to the Minister that his predecessor had virtually given an assurance that the Government had no intention of reducing the limit to £50,000 which had admittedly been discussed in Committee.

I can see no logical reason for bringing this Order before the House. It is nothing more than a piece of window-dressing, designed simply to give the impression to the country that Her Majesty's Government are going to tackle every aspect of the economic crisis, by every means at their disposal. They are quite right, and it is proper that they should do so, but certainly not by means of legislation which will have no effect whatever upon the present economic situation. It has already been pointed out that the effect of this Order upon the economic situation will be meaningless for probably six months——

Sir Harmar Nicholls (Peterborough)

For 12 months.

Mr. Bessell

The hon. Gentleman the Member for Peterborough (Sir Harmar Nicholls) says a year, and I think that he is probably right. In which case, do the Government expect that there will be a continuation of the crisis for 12 months? Are they doing a little bit of forward planning on that basis? If that is the case, then the gravity of the present economic situation is much greater than we have been led to believe.

Another aspect of the Order is the uncertainty which it will create in the building industry. At the moment, we have a considerably increased figure of unemployment throughout the country. There are many people available for work, and much of the slack could be taken up temporarily as well as permanently by the building industry at this time. It would go a long way to alleviate hardship and suffering and, more importantly, it would contribute towards the essential drive for new houses which surely is something which must be close to the heart of any radical Government.

Mr. Eric S. Heffer (Liverpool, Walton) rose——

Mr. Bessell

I will give way to the hon. Gentleman in a moment.

If that is the case, they should do nothing to discourage further employment in the industry and add to the uncertainty which the industry is experiencing.

Mr. Heffer

The hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Bessell) makes an interesting point. He says that we should take up the slack from other industries; but what would we do for skilled labour in the building industry? It is not possible to erect even industrialised buildings without a high percentage of skilled labour. They are not produced out of a hat.

Mr. Bessell

Within the narrow confines of this debate, I shall be in difficulty if I attempt to answer that in detail. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will accept it from me—in fact, he probably knows better than I do—that, with industrialised building, very little skilled labour is needed. It is possible for much of the slack of unemployment at the moment to be taken up by building projects. I believe that that is something at which the Government should be looking seriously, instead of cutting back and creating this uncertainty.

The uncertainty is real. The building industry is concerned that the Government have provided no target figures for housebuilding for the years 1968 and 1969——

Mr. A. P. Costain (Folkestone and Hythe)

Or 1966.

Mr. Bessell

That is true. But we have one for 1970. The years preceding that are important also. Any further uncertainty in this vital industry will hamper considerably the Government's intention of building more houses.

If we look at the Order and its effects upon the building industry, we must also consider its effects upon potential investors in new construction. If a sum of £100,000 is required for a building project, it is reasonable to assume that that money will be available on the market and that advance planning for its provision will be made by banks, institutions, trusts and other sources of money. If it is a matter of £50,000, forward planning becomes much more difficult, because the amount is too small. I believe that £100,000 is a very narrow limit, in any case, within the framework of forward planning for the financial institutions of the country.

If we know that every project which costs more than £50,000 will be the subject of an application for a special licence, that means that there will not only be delay but real uncertainty about whether that licence will be granted. In the long term, the Government will find that this Measure will do considerable harm to the economy, not only at the level of the building industry but also amongst those institutions which provide capital for additional building and for long-term planning of construction.

I have said that I believe that this Order is needless, unless the Government believe that the economic crisis is insoluble. Even if they believe that and think that the economic crisis will continue for a number of years, I do not believe that the Order, which is further deflation upon deflation, can possibly have other than a damaging effect upon the economy.

It is essential that certain things have priority. One of the priorities is the construction of new buildings, the modernisation of existing buildings, and progress in the construction of new towns and new industrial centres. To bring controls to bear on this type of work at a time when the country should be looking forward to the exciting years of development which lie ahead is a retrogressive step, and I believe that the Government will regret it.

Mr. W. S. Hilton (Bethnal Green)

The hon. Gentleman is opposed to the Order because he says that it will cripple the building of new towns and various other essential building projects, but if I understand it aright the original legislation exempted houses. They will not, therefore, be affected by this Order.

Mr. Bessell

As far as my recollection goes—and no doubt the Minister will intervene to correct me if I am wrong— the original Measure provided that any project which cost less than £100,000 would be exempt from the necessity of obtaining a licence. We are now going down to £50,000. This will certainly affect industrial development and commercial development, without which it is impossible for us to expect housing development to take place.

Mr. Prentice

The hon. Gentleman suggested that I might intervene to correct him. If I had corrected the previous speakers from that side of the House I should have been jumping up and down, because they were wholly inaccurate and wide of the mark. The hon. Gentleman will see that the exemptions include housing, industrial building, building by public authorities, and building in development areas. In fact the scope of the Act, and therefore the scope of the Order, applies to private building, which amounts to about 7 to 10 per cent. of the total building capacity of the country. If the hon. Gentleman bears that in mind, he will no doubt withdraw a number of things that he said.

Mr. Bessell

I am sorry, but the Minister has missed my point. Perhaps I have expressed myself badly. I cannot believe that the right hon. Gentleman is asking the House to believe—perhaps he is—that it is possible to put up large numbers of houses in areas completely isolated from all forms of industry and commerce, because that is the logical conclusion to be drawn from his remarks. It may well be, as the right hon. Gentleman says, that housing is exempt under the terms of the Act, but what I am saying is that it is impossible to expect there to be a development of housing on the lines which the Minister and his right hon. and hon. Friends have said they wish to see if we are to have these restrictions on other forms of development which are essential within any housing development, otherwise we will create an even more dangerous situation where we have people isolated from their places of work, and indeed we shall create not only transport problems, but many other social difficulties.

I do not want to delay the House for long on this. I have already said that we on this bench always had grave fears that an Order of this kind might be introduced. I am sorry that our fears have been realised, and I believe that there is nothing in this Order which will either help the economy, or do anything to the benefit of the Government's housing and building programme generally. On the contrary, it will add to the uncertainty of the building industry, and could do grave damage in the long term to one of the most vital industries in the country.

11.9 p.m.

Mr. Bernard Braine (Essex, South-East)

The Minister referred to this Order as a modest Measure. All those who have addressed the House so far have shown that its modesty is matched only by its irrelevance, but, as my hon. Friend the Member for Londonderry (Mr. Chichester-Clark) made plain, this Order, whatever else can be said about it, cannot be considered in isolation.

By now hon. Members on both sides of the House, however they may have voted in the Lobbies, must be aware of the confusion and uncertainty caused by the Land Commission Bill. That Measure has been described by one hon. Member as the product of an unholy union between compulsory acquisition and capital levy. My hon. Friend the Member for Crosby (Mr. Graham Page) has described it as a statutory bastard. I do not know whether that is strictly Parliamentary language, but it is a perfect description——

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Eric Fletcher)

Whether it is Parliamentary language or not, it is out of order to discuss it on this Order, the scope of which is very narrow.

Mr. Braine

It is precisely because that Bill gave rise to anomalies and injustices, one of which is brought out by this Order, that I want to refer to the matter. I hope that you will bear with me, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Some weeks ago one of my constituents drew my attention to an anomaly which arises directly out of this modest Measure, as the Minister described it. As I understand it, any purchase of property in the period from 22nd September last year to the first appointed day under the Land Commission Bill——

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. We cannot discuss the Land Commission Bill on this Order. We have had long discussions on the Land Commission Bill, and it has now had its Third Reading. The scope of this debate is confined to this Order.

Mr. Braine

I am not trying to take advantage of the situation. I assure you that the anomaly in this case arises from the provisions of the Order, which reduces the building control limit from £100,000 to £50,000. I have had correspondence with the Minister of Land and Natural Resources on this point and he admits that this is a matter arising out of the Order, but I must relate my remarks to the provisions of the Land Commission Bill, because the two matters are closely connected. According to my constituent, in some cases where land was purchased between 22nd September——

Mr. Deputy Speaker

I do not see how the hon. Member can relate this argument to the provisions of this Order.

Mr. Braine

With great respect, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I am referring to a letter to the Minister of Land and Natural Resources in which I drew attention to the anomaly resulting from the Order which reduces the building control limit from £100,000 to £50,000. Unless I am permitted to explain why this is so I am not able to draw to the attention of the Minister the grievance of my constituent nor can I ask him to take the appropriate action. I am seeking redress for a constituent's grievance, which arises directly from the introduction of this Order.

My constituent says that in some cases where land was purchased for development other than for residential purposes between 22nd September, 1965, and the announcement lowering the licensing limit from £100,000 to £50,000, no start had been made or no contract had been signed before the relevant date of the Order reducing the building control limit to £50,000. Accordingly, if one assumes that the limit remains until after the first appointed day—and that is a fair assumption—no start can now be made in such cases. Therefore, when development starts there will be, in addition to the payment of the full development value in reasonable circumstances, a levy under Case C, with the purchase price not brought into account as the base value. This is clearly inequitable and unfair. This is the burden of my argument. I do not say that the anomaly arises in many cases, but it has arisen to my certain knowledge in respect of one of my constituents.

I wrote to the Minister of Land and Natural Resources about this because it seemed to me that there was a possible way around this difficulty through an Amendment to the Bill. I wrote in sufficient time to enable the Minister, if he so wished, to amend the Bill. It would have been perfectly possible to have amended the Bill so as to allow the purchase price to be brought in as the base value when the full development value had been paid between 22nd September, 1965, and the time of the announcement lowering the building control limit, when the project would have started before the appointed day but for the effect of the Order lowering the limit. This is a demonstration of the enormous complexity of these regulations, arising out of the Land Commission Bill, with the uncertainties that has created, and now with this Order.

I told the Minister that, whatever the difficulties, the point should be met in order to avoid injustice. I had an astonishing reply. I had taken it that the Minister must have consulted the Minister of Public Building and Works, because the matter was one that concerned the two Departments. I can only assume that the latter must be aware of the point but, as I say, I had an astonishing reply. The Minister frankly declined to take any action. He admitted that there was a problem. He said: There is no doubt that a number of developers have decided for one reason or another to buy during this interim period in the hope, or indeed the expectation, that they would be able to start but in the event, for a number of reasons—and the building control order may be only one such reason—they may not be able to start and they will therefore suffer the penalty for the risk they took when they bought the land. There is the problem. It is admitted that some people may be faced with this difficulty and it is implied that in some cases there may be an injustice.

The Minister went on to say, in cold and, in my view, cynical terms: I do not think that this is an anomaly; the possibility of this happening was inherent in the provisions and a great deal of publicity has, for this reason, been given to these provisions. I know the Minister in question sufficiently well to say that that unfeeling reply is quite uncharacteristic of him—and I have known him in this House for a good many years. I am prepared to believe that, on reflection, he would not be party to an injustice——

Mr. Graham Page (Crosby)

My hon. Friend will know that an Amendment was put down to the Land Commission Bill to relieve this hardship and to remedy this injustice, and that it was rejected by the Minister of Land and Natural Resources. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will read that debate and see the matter fully explained there, as my hon. Friend is explaining it now.

Mr. Braine

I was aware of that, and I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his intervention. The reason why I am explaining this point now is that, having no redress from one source, I am now appealing to the right hon. Gentleman to see what he can do, bearing in mind that it is this Order that has caused this anomaly. That is why I make my appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to find some means of putting this matter right. I hope that he will do all he can either to cause his right hon. Friend to have second thoughts or to take some action himself. I am sure that the Government would be prepared to look again at a blatant injustice of this kind. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will give me that assurance.

11.23 p.m.

Mr. A. P. Costain (Folkestone and Hythe)

At this time of evening I shall not repeat the arguments so well deployed by my hon. Friends, but I want to put certain questions to the Minister. Nine months ago today—and that is perhaps why my hon. Friend the Member for Crosby (Mr. Graham Page) referred to this Bill as a bastard—the then Minister of Public Building and Works said that the Government would produce this legislation. It was during that time that we pressed the previous Minister to make a lower limit. Will the Minister say quite honestly that if the limit had then been restricted to £50,000 he would have introduced a lower limit? Would he have done that, as his own previous Government did on 1st February, 1950, when they introduced a lower limit of £1,000? The first of the month is often considered to be a popular pay day for many people, but it seems to me that the first of the month is control day for the Government.

The Minister, in introducing this Measure, did it less than justice, because although there is a controlled minimum of £50,000 he admitted, although he has not mentioned it now, that it is an aggregate of two years' total cost. Years of total costing having to be taken into account, and while we hear that this is the first occasion in peace time that a citizen can be sent to gaol, at least for such an offence, the Minister has also said that this would take some of the slack out of the economy.

We are concerned here not with areas which are development areas, but tourist areas, tourist resorts, which are being pressed by the President of the Board of Trade to do something different. We were told that we wanted more than 10 per cent. of the tourist trade, but in an area like Folkestone, one cannot take up the slack, so to speak, and also have the tourist trade.

Mr. A. J. Gardiner (Rushcliffe)

We are told that certain areas are being refused, and that a number of objections have been accepted.

Mr. Costain

The hon. Member must believe that Whitehall always knows best, but when the House is asked to reduce this limit to £50,000 we must again weigh the effect of the evidence. Can the Minister produce evidence that projects estimated to cost £50,000 take less time to design than those estimated to cost £100,000? When and how will these controls be removed? Will the Minister refer to this future period? If the Minister had been at the R.I.B.A. presidential address this evening, he would have realised that the architects are worried about the effects of the cut-back on their staffs and, when private work starts up again, how they will be able to build their teams up again. I would ask the hon. Members for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) and Bethnal Green (Mr. Hilton), who have great practical knowledge of the building industry, to talk to the Minister and make him realise that unless plans are drawn up in advance for projects when the freeze is lifted, months will elapse before work can start on the sites and unemployment will be caused.

11.25 p.m.

Sir Harmar Nicholls (Peterborough)

I join in warning the Government that they are getting to the point where they may be completely demoralising the building industry, not necessarily because of the terms of this Order. If there is one industry which has to work in close co-operation with the Government, it is the building industry. Over the years so much contradictory advice has been given to the industry by the Government that the industry can hardly believe what it is told. If we are not very careful this great industry, which is the beginning of everything which we want in order to expand development, will be demoralised and unable to play its full part in the economy of the country.

I think the Minister himself feels this. His introduction of this Order was not very enthusiastic. He knows that his Department carries responsibility for the industry. He said that the effect of the Order did not amount to very much, that housing, public authority building and building in development areas was not affected and that the restriction applies only to 10 per cent. If the Order is to have such little effect, it is not worth the risk of contradicting all that his predecessor said when he was giving advice to the industry. We were told by the right hon. Gentleman's predecessor that the limit would not fall below £100,000. The building industry ought to be able to believe what it is told by the Government, but now we have this irrelevant window-dressing by the Prime Minister. In his statement on 20th July, the Prime Minister dragged this in to make his friends happy with talk about bingo halls. We have to look at the history of the matter and see how the brickmakers were told that they could make all the bricks that were needed, and then all that was thrown out of the window. We were told that £100,000 would be the limit and it would not be reduced.

The right hon. Gentleman knows that his job of trying to keep the building industry happy is being made more difficult because he is the bearer of this Order which is in flat contradiction to what his predecessor said. I am glad that my hon. Friends will vote against this Order, not because at this late hour we want to go tramping through the Division Lobbies, but to keep up the morale of the industry. If the Government will not do so, we should let the industry know that we recognise its problems. By our vote we should let the Ministry know what our feeling is.

11.28 p.m.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Public Building and Works (Mr. James Boyden)

I do not know where the hon. Member for Londonderry (Mr. Chichester-Clark) got his facts about development areas, but only today I saw in the Scotsman, which, I presume, knows a certain amount about Scotland, and is not necessarily favourable to the Labour Party, an article headed: Building Industry is Doing Well London Brokers's Views". The article said: In an interesting and informative survey, Messrs. Mitton & Butler, London stockbrokers, consider that the Scottish construction industry is enjoying high activity, particularly as nearly all of the country is outside the scope of deferments of Government and Local Authority expenditure announced in July. In this respect Scottish builders have an advantage over the rest of the United Kingdom. The situation is helped by the pressure the Government is bringing upon housing authorities to speed up building programmes…. This, I should have thought, is very considerable evidence, which my Scottish friends could see with their own eyes, of what is going on in Scotland in relation to the building industry and to building.

Mr. Chichester-Clark

I am sure that they are admirable stockbrokers, but I do not see why London stockbrokers should be an authority on building in Scotland. I referred to the N.F.B.T.E. statement, which the hon. Gentleman should have seen.

Mr. Boyden

I thought hon. Members would be impressed by what London stockbrokers have said, but apparently I must revise my views.

Mr. Thomas Steele (Dunbartonshire, West)

Would my hon. Friend forgive me? As a Scotsman, I read this article and, in fact, people were being advised to put money into the building industry in Scotland.

Mr. Boyden

I am liable to be attacked from behind if my Scottish friends disagree with me, but I do not think they will.

In my own area in the North-East a factory building boom is going on. People are making applications for I.D.C.s in considerable numbers. I am speaking from memory, but I think that in an Answer only a few days ago my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade gave a figure of about 3.7 million sq. ft. of factory space being indented for in the future. So the factory building boom which is going on now will certainly continue into the period that hon. Members opposite were talking about. My own constituency, the Urban District of Bishop Auckland, has one of the biggest public building programmes, and there is similar activity in council house building throughout the North-East. In fact, the general impression is not at all what hon. Members opposite have said it is.

Several hon. Members have referred to licensing for hotels. They seemed to be making the point that almost all hotel building is being stopped. In fact, the system which my right hon. Friend described is to see that hotels go into the right place, that they are licensed if the local need exists and if the building industry is capable of doing the work. The figures show that up to 9th August 23 hotels worth nearly £8 million were authorised and only three hotels valued at £500,000 were turned down. In the period from the enactment until very recently several more hotels have been authorised, and the position is not at all as hon. Members opposite have said.

But there is something more basic than this. I think hon. Members opposite do a disservice to the building industry, as indeed some builders do, when they overpaint the picture of gloom. The hon. Member for Londonderry made great play about the reaction of the building industry to building control, but my right hon. Friend and I meet builders in various areas of the country. We read the technical Press fairly carefully, and it is quite remarkable how little criticism there has been about the Act since it was passed, either of the administration of the Act, or of the £100,000 level and the present level.

There is an article in Building, which makes certain critical remarks about the building industry. I dare say that the hon. Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Mr. Costain) has read it. Indeed, I am surprised that he did not quote some of it in another connection. In any case, the reference to building licensing is certainly not adverse. Building, which is a very representative journal, says: Building is not the only industry beset with problems; indeed, in many respects they are less than those being experienced in other prominent sections of the economy. There are no alarmist reports of redundancies or widespread unemployment; a considerable volume of building work is in progress notwithstanding the aura of gloom on the national scene. Hon. Members opposite know what the economic situation is. This is a fairly reasonable indication that many people in the industry—and I think they are the less vocal and less political people in the industry—are not as depressed as hon. Members opposite would wish them to be. In fact, very often the sort of language that is used here has an adverse effect on the industry itself. The Ministry's figures seem to suggest that as a result of licensing the industry is approaching a period of stability. Following this period and when general economic conditions are more satisfactory, planned growth and movement forward will be possible, but not the violent movement forward which caused all the difficulties in 1964. Here is an indication of the sort of stability that is expected. The index of production in 1964, the over-heated year, was 135. In 1965 it was 138. It dipped in the first quarter of 1966, very much due to the weather, and it was back to 138 in the second quarter of 1966.

The level of orders for new work with contractors also indicates a fairly stable situation. New orders increased in 1963 and 1964 faster than the industry could cope with them. The situation was debated in the House several times, and I took part in those debates. In 1964 there was a peak of £2,583 million, at 1958 constant prices. In 1965 it was down to £2,438 million, but the interesting thing is that in the first seven months of 1966 it was £1,407 million, about the same level as in 1965. Last July, the last month for which we have figures, the figure was relatively better, and was about the same level as in 1965.

In other words, the industry is just about coping with what it can manage. I was astonished to read in a local newspaper today of the sort of situation to which my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) referred in a comment to an hon. Member opposite about the pressure on skilled craftsmen, which still interferes with smooth building operations in a number of cases. Quite the contrary impression is given in this local newspaper article, which I did not ask for but picked up by accident. It refers to the situation in a town in the North-East. I shall give the hon. Gentleman the cutting afterwards. I do not want to draw special attention to it, for obvious reasons, but the local authority is facing grave difficulty in getting its council houses completed because of a shortage of craftsmen. Quoting the chairman of the authority's housing committee, the article says: … it boils down to a serious shortage of bricklayers, plumbing tradesmen and other craftsmen who are tempted away by local industries offering greater scope and bigger money. What follows is perhaps slightly less accurate, not in relation to the local area but to the country as a whole: It's the same all over Tees-side, and just as bad down in the south. The only other answer is industrialised building. The picture is not as hon. Gentlemen opposite are painting it, and the Order will do something to redress the balance.

Hon. Members opposite twitted me about a phrase I rather liked about unemployment in the building industry in the North-East. The fact is that if there is to be unemployment in the building industry it will not be because of the Order. It will be because of other economic circumstances which would have hit the area still worse if these measures exempting the development districts had not been introduced.

The hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Bessell) said that unemployment slack could be taken up by the unemployed being given work in the building industry. The difficulty is that the most vulnerable workers, the unskilled, are those who are first out of work, and the jobs which require the craftsmen to keep them in work are those which the Order will be licensing. The hon. Member also put forward the idea that new towns and industrial development would be hindered by the Order. That is not true. As my hon. Friend the Member for Bethnal Green (Mr. Hilton) pointed out, the exemptions are so wide that the realistic and important building activities—housing, research and industrial building generally—will go forward. Those which are not considered so essential and which come under the Order will be licensed in the context to which he referred.

In other words, projects will be licensed when these are in the new towns or are other developments which are in the national interest and which the building industry can cope with. Even at 50 per cent., which is the highest figure so far in the restriction of licensing, it lets through a very considerable number of buildings in the national interest.

I shall gladly look into the case which the hon. Member for Essex, South-East (Mr. Braine) raised. If it is a matter of the date on which building is to begin, we shall give it very sympathetic consideration. I am not promising the hon. Gentleman that I shall agree with the case which he put. We have said all along that if there are cases of hardship caused by the change of date, we shall look at them sympathetically. If he will send me the facts of this particular case, I shall investigate them personally and, so far as I possibly can, endeavour to eliminate hardship.

To take that matter up as a general point, this is the way we have been administering the Order. I have not myself had any complaints of any particular hardship caused by the administration. The hon. Member for Londonderry knows that we promised this when the Bill was going through, and, from what I have

seen of the administration, we have fulfilled that pledge.

The hon. Member for Folkestone and Hythe said that architects were running out of work. I wish that some of them would join the local government service or come into the Ministry.

Mr. Costain

Does not the hon. Gentleman realise that half the architects are in the public service already? What more does he want?

Mr. Boyden

There are changes taking place in architects' offices, but the idea that architects are really in such a desperate plight is not borne out by the facts on the public authority side.

The hon. Member for Southend, West (Mr. Channon) asked me a blunt question about the effect on the balance of payments. Obviously, an inflationary situation in the building industry in the South-East or in London has an adverse effect on the balance of payments situation, and a general trend to avoid an inflationary tendency is bound to have a good effect on the balance of payments.

As my right hon. Friend said, this amending Order under the Act gives us more flexibility and much better opportunities to achieve a situation of planned growth, and I commend it to the House.

Question put:

The House divided: Ayes 178, Noes 128.

Division No. 195.] AYES [11.42 p.m.
Abse, Leo Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Gardner, Tony
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Crawshaw, Richard Garrett, W. E.
Anderson, Donald Cullen, Mrs. Alice Garrow, Alex
Archer, Peter Davidson, Arthur (Accrington) Ginsburg, David
Armstrong, Ernest Davies, Dr. Ernest (Stretford) Gourlay, Harry
Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.) Davies, Harold (Leek) Gray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth)
Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham) Davies, Ifor (Gower) Gregory, Arnold
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Davies, Robert (Cambridge) Grey, Charles (Durham)
Barnes, Michael de Freitas, Sir Geoffrey Hamilton, James (Bothwell)
Baxter, William Dempsey, James Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)
Beaney, Alan Dewar, Donald Hamling, William
Bennett, James (G'gow, Bridgeton) Diamond, Rt. Hn. John Hannan, William
Bidwell, Sydney Doig, Peter Harper, Joseph
Binns, John Dunn, James A. Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)
Bishop, E. S. Dunnett, Jack Haseldine, Norman
Blackburn, F. Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth (Exeter) Heffer, Eric S.
Blenkinsop, Arthur Dunwoody, Dr. John (F'th & C'b'e) Henig, Stanley
Boardman, H. Eadie, Alex Hilton, W. S.
Booth, Albert Ellis, John Hooley, Frank
Boyden, James Ensor, David Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas
Bray, Dr. Jeremy Faulds, Andrew Howell, Denis (Small Heath)
Brooks, Edwin Fernyhough, E. Howie, W.
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Hughes, Roy (Newport)
Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.) Floud, Bernard Hunter, Adam
Brown, R. W. (Shoreditch & F'bury) Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale) Hynd, John
Buchan, Norman Forrester, John Jackson, Peter M. (High Peak)
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Fowler, Gerry Jeger, Mrs. Lena (H'b'n&St. P'cras, S.)
Cant, R. B. Fraser, John (Norwood) Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)
Coe, Denis Fraser, Rt. Hn. Tom (Hamilton) Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)
Concannon, J. D. Galpern, Sir Myer Jones, Dan (Burnley)
Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Mendelson, J. J. Robertson, John (Paisley)
Kelley, Richard Millan, Bruce Rose, Paul
Kenyon, Clifford Miller, Dr. M. S. Ross, Rt. Hn. William
Kerr, Mrs. Anne (R'ter & Chatham) Milne, Edward (Blyth) Rowland, Christopher (Meriden)
Kerr, Dr. David (W'worth, Central) Mitchell, R. C. (S'th'pton, Test) Rowlands, E. (Cardiff, N.)
Kerr, Russell (Felrham) Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire) Sheldon, Robert
Lawson, George Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)
Leadbitter, Ted Neal, Harold Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)
Lee, John (Reading) Norwood, Christopher Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Oakes, Gordon Slater, Joseph
Lomas, Kenneth Ogden, Eric Steele, Thomas (Dunbartonshire, W.)
Loughlin, Charles O'Malley, Brian Swingler, Stephen
Luard, Evan Orbach, Maurice Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)
Lyon, Alexander W. (York) Orme, Stanley Varley, Eric G.
Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.) Oswald, Thomas Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)
McCann, John Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, S'tn) Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
MacDermot, Niall Page, Derek (King's Lynn) Watkins, David (Consett)
McGuire, Michael Palmer, Arthur Watkins, Tudor (Brecon & Radnor)
McKay, Mrs. Margaret Park, Trevor Weitzman, David
Mackintosh, John P. Parkyn, Brian (Bedford) Wellbeloved, James
Maclennan, Robert Pavitt, Laurence Whitaker, Ben
McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.) Pentland, Norman Wilkins, W. A.
McNamara, J. Kevin Perry, Ernest G. (Battersea, S.) Williams, Clifford (Abertillery)
Mahon, Peter (Preston, S.) Perry, George H. (Nottingham, S.) Willis, George (Edinburgh, E.)
Mahon, Simon (Bootle) Prentice, Rt. Hn. R. E. Winterbottom, R, E.
Manuel, Archie Price, Christopher (Perry Barr) Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.
Mapp, Charles Price, William (Rugby) Yates, Victor
Marquand, David Probert, Arthur
Mason, Roy Redhead, Edward TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Mathew, Robert Rhodes, Geoffrey Mr. Neil McBride and
Mellish, Robert Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Mr. Ioan L. Evans.
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Grimond, Rt. Hn. J. Onslow, Cranley
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Hall, John (Wycombe) Osborn, John (Hallam)
Astor, John Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Page, Graham (Crosby)
Awdry, Daniel Harris, Reader (Heston) Pardoe, John
Baker, W. H. K. Harrison, Brian (Maldon) Percival, Ian
Balniel, Lord Hastings, Stephen Pike, Miss Mervyn
Batsford, Brian Heald, Rt. Hn. Sir Lionel Pink, R. Bonner
Berry, Hn. Anthony Heseltine, Michael Pounder, Rafton
Bessell, Peter Higgins, Terence L. Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch
Biffen, John Hiley, Joseph Price, David (Eastleigh)
Biggs-Davison, John Hill, J. E. B. Pym, Francis
Black, Sir Cyril Hobson, Rt. Hn. Sir John Rees-Davies, W. R,
Blaker, Peter Holland, Philip Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David
Bossom, Sir Clive Hooson, Emlyn Ridley, Hn. Nicholas
Braine, Bernard Hunt, John Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey
Briton, Sir Tatton Hutchison, Michael Clark Roots, William
Bruce-Gardyne, J. Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford) Scott, Nicholas
Bryan, Paul Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead) Sharples, Richard
Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus, N&M) Johnston, Russell (Inverness) Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)
Buck, Antony (Colchester) Jopling, Michael Sinclair, Sir George
Carlisle, Mark Kimball, Marcus Smith, John
Channon, H. P. G. King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.) Steel, David (Roxburgh)
Chichester-Clark, R. Kirk, Peter Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M. (Ripon)
Clegg, Walter Knight, Mrs. Jill Summers, Sir Spencer
Cooke, Robert Lancaster, Col. C. G. Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Costain, A. P. Langford-Holt, Sir John Taylor, Edward M.(G'gow, Cathcart)
Crowder, F. P. Loveys, W. H. Thorpe, Jeremy
Dalkeith, Earl of Lubbock, Eric Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.
Dance, James MacArthur, Ian Wainwright, Richard (Colne Valley)
Davidson, James (Aberdeenshire, W.) Mackenzie, Alasdair (Ross&Crom'ty) Walker, Peter (Worcester)
Dean, Paul (Somerset, N.) Maclean, Sir Fitzroy Wall, Patrick
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. (Ashford) Maginnis, John E. Webster, David
Doughty, Charles Mawby, Ray Wells, John (Maidstone)
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Farr, John Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C. Whitelaw, William
Fortescue, Tim Mills, Peter (Torrington) Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Foster, Sir John Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.) Monro, Hector Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.) More, Jasper Worsley, Marcus
Glover, Sir Douglas Morrison, Charles (Devizes) Younger, Hn. George
Goodhew, Victor Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh
Grant, Anthony Murton, Oscar TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Grant-Ferris, R. Nicholls, Sir Harmar Mr. R. W. Elliott and
Cresham Cooke, R. Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael Mr. Reginald Eyre.
Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)

Resolved, That the Building Control (Cost Limit Exemption) Order 1966 (S.I., 1966, No. 997), dated 9th August, 1966, a copy of which was laid before this House on 10th August, be approved.