THE EARL OF GOSFORD
asked Her Majesty's Government whether a recent announcement in the Press that responsibility for the construction work and building maintenance at home and abroad, formerly carried out by the War Office and the Air Ministry, has been transferred to the Ministry of Public Building and Works is correct and, if correct, for what reasons.
The Prime Minister announced on 22nd October that he had transferred to the Minister of Public Building and Works responsibility for the construction work at home and abroad of the War Office and the Air Ministry. It has now been decided to make a similar change in respect of the Admiralty.
The effect of these changes, which involve the transfer of construction work to the value of around £140 million a year, is to make the Ministry of Public Building and Works responsible in future for carrying out the great majority of the Government's direct building work. This, together with the Minister's new 874WA responsibilities for co-ordinating and extending the work of development groups throughout the Government service, will greatly facilitate arrangements to ensure that the most economical and up-to-date administrative and technical practices are applied over the whole of this field.
The Government will thus be able to use its power as client to assist the construction industries to reap the benefits of modern production methods. About half the output of the construction industries is for public authorities and this in its turn represents about half the total public capital investment.
Care will be taken in the process of merging the three Services' Works' organisations and the existing Ministry of Public Building and Works organisation into a new structure to avoid losing, the benefit of experience acquired in any of them. The best techniques and methods evolved in each organisation will in future be applied to them all. My right honourable friend, the Minister of Public Building and Works, has stated that he envisages that the integration should make it possible to meet defence and other building requirements more economically and efficiently.
House adjourned at two minutes past eight o'clock.