§ Mr. Nicholas Winterton
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the procedure the Government use or recommend for hiring architects to design and contractors to build public housing; and if statistics are available comparing the cost-effectiveness of public housing construction with that of the private sector.
§ Mr. Armstrong
The Government do not themselves design or build public housing. The Department has published advice on procedures to appoint contractors and consultants in the code of procedures for local authority house-building, a copy of which is placed in the Library.
Statistics on the construction costs of local authority dwellings and on the price of new private sector dwellings are published regularly in "Housing and Construction Statistics". Comparisons of cost-effectivness would depend upon estimates of future costs as well as subjective judgements which are not readily incorporated into statistical data. My right hon. Friend the Minister for Housing and Construction has asked the Development Management Working Group to consider the question of value for money. Its terms of reference are:to review the methods of managing local authority programmes of housebuilding, including, in particular, organisation, control and performance monitoring; to consider ways of improving efficiency, of simplifying procedures 130W and of securing better value for money; and to make recommendations".
The group has already reported on the first part of its terms of reference and is well advanced in the preparation of its second report.