HC Deb 16 May 1968 vol 764 cc1394-5
Q2. Mr. Speed

asked the Prime Minister if he is satisfied with the co-ordination between the departments of Housing, Education, Health and Social Security in the provision of services in Chelmsley Wood, in view of the special nature and record speed of this development.

The Prime Minister

The main responsibility for the provision of, and the co-ordination of, services at Chelmsley Wood rests with the Birmingham, Warwickshire and Meriden Councils. In so far as my right hon. Friends are concerned, for example through the giving of approval or loan sanction for certain services, they of course consult together and with the local authorities as necessary.

Mr. Speed

I thank the Prime Minister for that reply. Will he confirm that, in so far as the Government have a responsibility, the provision of essential supporting services such as schools, clinics, and open spaces will receive exactly the same priority as the large number of houses now being built?

The Prime Minister

I agree with the hon. Gentleman, who knows this area far better than I do, that there is a special difficulty here, namely, the building of a very large number of houses by Birmingham in the area of another council. I have the same experience in my own constituency. I know the very difficulty he has mentioned where houses are built but other services do not always keep up with the provision of the houses. My right hon. Friends will certainly cooperate in this matter, though the initiative lies with the councils concerned.

Mr. Christopher Price

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the necessary concomitant of the reorganisation of local government social services is the reorganisation of central government social service departments? When will the amalgamation of the Ministeries of Health and Social Security and other Ministries take place?

The Prime Minister

That is going forward, though, as my hon. Friend knows, we are waiting for the consideration which must be given to the Seebohm Report. In the case referred to in the original Question, it is more a matter of the co-ordination of the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, the Department of Education and Science, the Ministry of Transport and other Departments which are not involved in that particular merger. For the rest, my hon. Friend will be aware that we are awaiting the Report of the Royal Commission.

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