asked the Minister of Health what action he is taking to ensure that local authorities receive adequate technical assistance in carrying forward their housing plans.
All possible steps are being taken to secure the release from the Forces under Class B arrangements, or from employment in Government Departments, of such technical officers of local authorities as are urgently required for housing work. Also, local authorities have been furnished with the names of architects, engineers and surveyors in private practice—both firms and individuals—who are able to give professional assistance on housing work.
Is the Minister aware that, many local authorities are not able to get enough technical assistance, and that he reminded us of this when speaking in the House on 17th October? What further steps has the right hon. Gentleman taken to help the situation?
I took steps before that date, and I am taking steps all the time. The hon. Member will realise that I am as anxious as he is to get these technical officers back to the local authorities. A large number have been released and are being released, and my Department will provide, regionally and centrally, technical assistance to help those local authorities who are behind in the preparation of their plans.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that the Royal Air Force have civilian architects in their employ whom they refuse to release for housing purposes?
Would the Minister do his utmost to get these men released from the Services when cases are brought to his attention?
I want to make it clear that these are not group releases, but special releases. Lists have been put in, and releases are taking place quickly now.