HC Deb 27 November 1967 vol 755 cc14-5
22. Mr. Allason

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works what proportion of the total resources of the building industry will be engaged in local authority work in in the year 1967–68.

Mr. Mellish

Statistics collected by my Ministry do not distinguish between construction work for local authorities and for other public sector clients. However, in the year 1966 expediture on local authority work was about one-third of the total expediture on construction work in Great Britain.

Mr. Allason

Does that estimate include public authority work for compulsory improvement of homes which the Minister advocates in public speeches, in complete contradiction to the policy of his right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government?

Mr. Mellish

I do not find any contradiction between what I am saying and what my right hon. Friend is saying. The intention is to improve that sort of work. I have given the figures. It must not be forgotten that the public sector provides 50 per cent. of the entire output of the building industry. It is important to remember that aspect. It is doing very well, thank you.

Mr. Chichester-Clark

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there was a complete contradiction between the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman at Brighton and what was said by the Minister of Housing and Local Government? Is the right hon. Gentleman turning into a sort of domestic Chalfont?

Mr. Mellish

I think you will agree, Mr. Speaker, that there is nothing in the Question which asks about improvement grant work. If a Question on this subject is put down I shall be willing to answer it.