HC Deb 11 March 1969 vol 779 cc1152-3
18. Mr. Fortescue

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works what evidence his Department has submitted to the Metrication Board; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Mellish

No evidence has yet been presented formally to the Board by my Department, but a great deal of information is available about metrication in the Government building programme and in the construction industry at large. This will be submitted to the Board very shortly.

Mr. Fortescue

Does the right hon. Gentleman appreciate that it is over seven months since the establishment of the Board was announced? As we now have only a chairman and vice-chairman and one full-time member, and as construction contracts are to be designated in metric terms on 1st January, is it not time that the Ministry got a move on?

Mr. Mellish

The hon. Gentleman is talking to the wrong Minister. This is a matter for the Minister of Technology. As far as I am concerned, my own Ministry has done, and is doing, a first-class job. We have set up our own metrication committee to investigate the whole problem and my Ministry has gone metric. We are doing a very good job.

Mr. J. H. Osborn

Can the Minister state whether progress is satisfactory and whether there is adequate co-ordination? Is the industry lacking guidance, and does he not have responsibility here?

Mr. Mellish

I must admit that I will be very glad when the Board is appointed. I am most anxious to ensure that the construction industry has a first-class representative on the Board. Immediately it has had its first meeting we will be in a position to advise it on all that we have done and are doing in the construction industry—and it is a very good record.