HC Deb 05 February 1979 vol 962 cc25-6W
Mr. O'Halloran

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what plans he has to reduce unemployment in the construction industry in the Greater London area, in the light of record unemployment figures; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Golding

The past 12 months have seen a welcome fall in unemployment in the construction industry in the Greater London area, although I accept that unemployment in the industry is still too high. The Property Services Agency has a number of projects, some already in progress, others recently approved, which together will provide considerable employment in the industry for some years ahead. Included among these projects are—cost is shown at September 1978 prices—

  1. (i) New British library—the demolition contract for stage IA is about to be let. This stage will take about 10 years and will cost nearly £65 million.
  2. (ii) International conference centre—approval has been given for a new centre on the Broad Sanctuary site opposite Westminster Abbey. This will be completed in the mid-1980s and will cost about £18 million.
  3. (iii) Restoration of Richmond Terrace, Whitehall—approval has been given for the restoration of Richmond Terrace and the construction of offices behind its facade at a total cost of about £12 million.
  4. (iv) HQ for International Maritime Consultative Organisation—this building is currently under construction and is due for completion in 1981–82. It will cost about £20 million.

In addition to these major schemes, a number of important refurbishment projects throughout London are in hand or in the planning stage, and PSA has a continuing programme of local office provision and maintenance.

Further construction work will arise in the Greater London area under the inner cities programme under which the area received £33 million for the financial years 1977–78 and 1978–79 and will receive a further £30 million a year from 1979–80 onwards. It is expected that a large proportion of this will go towards capital expenditure including, but not necessarily confined to, construction projects.