§ THE EARL OF KINNOULL
My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made in compiling or approving lists of buildings 'of special architectural or historic interest, and when they expect that 'this work will be completed.]
THE JOINT PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF HOUSING AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT (EARL JELLICOE)
My Lords, in England and Wales the Minister of Housing and Local Government had by June 30, 1961, issued statutory lists for 978 out of the 1,474 local authority areas. A further 256 local authority areas had been partly listed. If the present rate of progress is maintained the work of survey for 516 listing will take a further five years, and it will be some time thereafter before the issue of the statutory lists is completed. In Scotland, only limited progress has been possible with statutory listing because of the very considerable search work in connection with titles for purposes of the necessary recording in the Register of Sasines, but about two-thirds of the country has been covered by provisional lists. I am sending my noble friend a copy of a recent circular which sets out the position in Scotland.
§ THE EARL OF KINNOULL
My Lords, are the Government aware that, in the 'opinion of many official bodies, the present staff coping with the provisional lists appears to be far too inadequate? Would the Government consider increasing the staff for this purpose?
My Lords, I would certainly agree with my noble friend that one of the reasons for the delay in this matter has been the shortage of clerical and other staff, in particular clerical staff. But, of course, there is a global shortage of clerical staff, and there are many other competing priorities. However, I will, of course, take note of what my noble friend has said.
THE EARL OF HADDINGTON
My Lords, is it not a fact that there are several bodies responsible for carrying out this work? There are the Ancient Monuments Board, the Royal Commission and, I think, the local authorities. Is the noble Earl satisfied that the work is more expeditiously carried out in this way than it would be if it were carried out by one authority?
My Lords, I think the question of trying to centralise this whole process is under study within the Government at the present time, and I do not think I can go further than that in my answer to my noble friend.