HC Deb 19 June 1967 vol 748 c1106
23. Mr. Chichester-Clark

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works what evidence he has received of bankruptcies in the building industry; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. Prentice

The limited statistics available indicate that bankruptcies rose from 678 in 1965 to 824 in 1966. Demand for building is rising and this should lead to better business prospects generally.

Mr. Chichester-Clark

Without wishing to be alarmist, does not this rather sharp rise show the necessity to avoid damaging nonsenses like the Selective Employment Tax and building controls?

Mr. Prentice

I do not think that those remarks arise on these figures. I believe that the figures reflect the ability of some firms in the industry to meet changes in demand and that they throw some light on the need for further study of the structure of the industry. This is one thing I have asked the two E.D.C.s to undertake.

Mr. Irwin

To what extent is the inefficiency of private enterprise the cause of the increasing number of bankruptcies in the industry?

Mr. Prentice

I would not like to generalise about the number of firms concerned. Usually it would be the less efficient firms which become bankrupt; but there are other circumstances in some cases.