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Building Control (Departmental Co-Ordination)

Volume 721: debated on Thursday 25 November 1965

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Q4.

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the representations made to Her Majesty's Government by official representatives of the building industry on the danger to the housing target, and the large number of Departments affected by these representations, he will take steps to ensure coordination of the departments responsible for the building programme.

Satisfactory arrangements already exist and no further steps are called for.

Would not the Prime Minister agree that there is a conflict between responsibility and authority among these Ministers? Would he not also agree that he has appointed a Minister of Land without planning powers and that the Minister of Housing and Local Government has planning powers, but that appeals over land are delayed? He undertook to give a reply within a month, but has taken seven months. Does he not agree that the fact that he has removed the Minister of Public Building and Works from his Cabinet shows a lack of confidence in the building industry?

No, Sir. My right hon. Friend was never in the Cabinet. Ministers of Works were in and out under the Conservatives, and that did not always relate to the importance of the building industry. I particularly remember the Chief Whip who was sacked to make room for the Leader of the Opposition who was put in for a short time. On the more important parts of the hon. Gentleman's question, the Minister of Land and Natural Resources does not deal with individual planning problems in local authority areas. That should be the responsibility of the Minister of Housing, and it is. On the whole subject of consultation on housing matters, my right hon. Friend is in close touch with the building organisations, as the hon. Member for Folkestone (Mr. Costain) knows. He will see the results of this in the Housing White Paper published yesterday.