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Repairs, Westminster (Private Builders)

Volume 409: debated on Wednesday 11 April 1945

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asked the Minister of Works whether he is aware that a considerable amount of war damage repair work is being held up because the Westminster City Council, with the consent of the regional licensing officer, refuses to allow private builders to operate though they are in a position and anxious to do so; and whether he will cancel the power of local authorities to hold up work that is otherwise approved by the investigator.

I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the general statement I made on this subject yesterday.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the investigator told the client that he would recommend the work provided he gave it to the local authority to do? Is it not a very dangerous precedent to give powers to persons when the client is perfectly willing to pay for it himself?

I do not know exactly what my hon. and gallant Friend means by "the investigator," but I explained our policy fully yesterday. If this work is to be done quickly we must plan the job as a whole, tackling whole streets together. We cannot have builders leapfrogging from house to house and from street to street. We should never get the job done quickly that way.