HC Deb 24 July 1967 vol 751 cc24-5
6. Mr Chichester-Clark

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works whether he will make a statement on his policy regarding the report of the Economic Development Committee on building entitled Action on the Banwell Report.

7. Mr. Costain

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works what is his policy regarding the Report of the Economic Development Committee for Building, on Action on the Banwell Report; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. Prentice

My representatives on the E.D.C. accepted the Working Party Report in principle and undertook that we would take prompt action on those recommendations which come within my responsibility. Many recommendations are addressed to other bodies and I hope that they will also react positively.

Mr. Chichester-Clark

While the right hon. Gentleman uses the term "prompt action", is it not more than a little curious that the E.D.C. should have to commission a Report to look into what the Government have done to implement a Report three years old? Will he now take the recommendations of that Report seriously and do something to put them into effect?

Mr. Prentice

I do not accept that. The Banwell Report was issued in 1964 and contained a very large number of recommendations for industry, the professions, Government Departments and local authorities. A good deal of progress has already been made on some of these. For example, the switching of emphasis towards selective tendering by public bodies has grown to a considerable extent. I think it is right that there should be a progress report of this kind which identifies the things which need more urgent action. I do not think that generally we need be disappointed.

Mr. Costain

Has the right hon. Gentleman's attention been drawn to the fact that in section 4.6 on page 11 of its Report the Committee recommends that the Ministry should revise its booklet "Selective tendering for local authorities" to include guidance on the size of the selection list? Is this not another example of a report on which no action has been taken by his Ministry?

Mr. Prentice

We are urgently considering the detailed recommendations, including possible revision of the booklet.