HC Deb 17 June 1968 vol 766 cc692-3
22. Mr. Arnold Shaw

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works what steps he has taken to improve his consultative machinery; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Mellish

After consultation and in agreement with my National Consultative Council for the Building and Civil Engineering Industries I have put in hand a reorganisation to make it more fully representative of the construction industry and to enable it to grapple more effectively with problems as they arise.

Five standing consultative committees have been established to deal with building, civil engineering, materials, subcontracting and labour, respectively, and in addition when specific problems arise which do not fit into the pattern of these committees, working groups will be set up to consider and report to the Council. I am confident that these arrangements will considerably enhance the efficiency of the Council as an instrument of consultation between the Government and this important industry.

Mr. Shaw

I am grateful for that reply. Who has joined the Consultative Council? How far does my right hon. Friend expect such a body to help to unravel the rather complex nature of the building industry?

Mr. Mellish

The new bodies on my National Consultative Council are the sub-contractors, the engineering subcontractors, the building material producers, the builders' and plumbers' merchants and the Contractors' Plant Association. I have broadened the base of the consultations. I want these people themselves to promote the sort of subjects which should be discussed by the industry, and if the day ever comes when I have to present legislation to the House, I hope that it will be at the industry's request.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Is this the result of the work of the Committee that investigated the Minister's Department? Will he publish its Report?

Mr. Mellish

It is nothing to do with that. This is a National Consultative Council of which I am the Chairman. When I attended my first meeting it was just like going to a tea party. There was nothing on the agenda.