asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government ii he will make a statement on the progress of the discussions between the National House-Builders' Registration Council and the Council of the Building Societies Association aimed at ensuring that houses for owner-occupation are built to acceptable standards.
My right hon. Friend is keeping in touch with these discussions, but he is not yet ready to make a statement.
Can my hon. Friend indicate how long he is prepared to wait for voluntary action to solve the problem of jerry-building? Would he agree that there should be legislation early in the New Year to protect home buyers if voluntary action cannot be taken?
If there were to be legislation, it would take some time to have effect. We are hoping for a voluntary scheme. These discussions may well prove fruitful. I hope that my right hon. Friend will be in a position to make a statement early in the New Year.
Does the hon. Gentleman agree that the reformation which has been going on in the structure of the N.H.B.R.C. is a great improvement? What is needed is for the building societies to play a more important part in these organisations.
The hon. Gentleman is quite right. The key to this is that the building societies should say that no mortgage shall be issued unless a certificate is issued by the N H.B.R.C. If we can get that from the building societies, we shall have achieved what almost every hon. Member wants.