HC Deb 16 December 1975 vol 902 cc614-5W
Mr. George

asked the Minister for Overseas Development, in view of the United Kingdom's experience in the development of new towns, what plans he has for making that experience more accessible on a commercial basis for overseas countries now planning similar developments.

Mr. John Silkin

I have been asked to reply.

A number of countries have shown interest in tapping the considerable British experience and ability in the field of new towns and urban development. I intend to ensure that every facility is made available for them to do so on commercial terms. In association with my right hon. Friends the Minister for Overseas Development, the Secretary of State for Trade and Secretaries of State for Scotland and Wales I have, therefore, set up in my Department a unit whose task will be to seek opportunities for the profitable deployment overseas of our expertise in urban development and for complementing the considerable British private sector activity in this field. In announcing this development I am glad to acknowledge the initiative and support of the New Towns Chairmen's Conference.

The unit, to be called the British Urban Development Services Unit, will provide a consultancy service to overseas clients. It will have a small nucleus of full-time staff, but, in the formulation of policy and in the assembly of teams for individual projects, will be able to draw on the expertise of the new town corporations as well as Government Departments. The intention is that the costs of the unit shall over time be met in full from the charges made for its services.

Where appropriate, the unit will work in association with private sector consultants. It will also maintain close liaison with the recently formed Construction Exports Advisory Board, whose membership was announced recently, and its relationship with the Advisory Board will be similar to that of a private consultant.

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