HC Deb 19 June 1967 vol 748 cc1106-7
24. Mr. Goodhart

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works what estimate he has made of the increase in the proportion of new building devoted to new housing since the introduction of building controls.

Mr. Prentice

In the third quarter of 1965, the proportion of new building work represented by housing was 38 per cent. This figure had risen to 41 per cent. in the first quarter of this year.

Mr. Goodhart

As the proportion of effort on new building declined between 1965 and 1966, why will not the Minister now scrap the Government's expensive and wasteful building control policy?

Mr. Prentice

I gave the figures, which show that the proportion rose from 38 per cent. to 41 per cent. I therefore do not know how the hon. Gentleman construes that as a fall in the proportion.

Mr. Channon

Does the right hon. Gentleman recall that when the building control Measure was going through Parliament he and his predecessor gave assurances to the effect that it would not be necessary to have a figure as low as £50,000? Will he now look at this matter again; or is he really saying that the present economic crisis will be going on for so long that the figure must be kept as low as this?

Mr. Prentice

I indicated, in reply to earlier Questions, that I thought it valuable to have the extra flexibility, which is provided by the range of £50,000 to £100,000, continuing. If we were to give that up I would have to turn down more applications under the £100,000 level, and I am sure that hon. Gentlemen opposite would not consider that to be desirable.