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Housing (Building Economic Development Council Report)

Volume 927: debated on Monday 7 March 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what correspondence and discussions he has had on the recent draft housing report of the Building Economic Development Council of the NEDC; and if he will make a statement.

The hon. Member for Hornsey (Mr. Rossi) wrote on 17th February to request that the Government should take steps to secure publication of the report.I replied to him on 4th March, as follows:

"Thank you for your letter of 17th February to Peter Shore about publication of the work which has been done by the Building Economic Development Committee on housing policy.
The Government would of course welcome publication of any analysis which will further develop discussion of the many difficult issues involved in reshaping housing policy. But the decision on whether the draft report is suitable for publication is for the Building EDC itself to make.
Despite some of your own public statements, references in the press to 'censorship' and 'left-wing pressure' to stop publication have been quite mendacious. I understand that the decision not to publish the report in its present form was in fact reached in the light of the view expressed by various representative interests on the BuildingEDC—not only trade union representatives—that more work was required.
I hope that recent intemperate action with regard to a 'leaked' and unfinished draft will not undermine the completion of the work done on housing policy by the Building Economic Development Committee."

The decision whether or not the working draft had reached the stage at which it was ready for publication was clearly one for the Building EDC to make. The Government have not intervened to prevent publication.