HC Deb 12 May 1970 vol 801 cc1047-8
17. Mr. Christopher Ward

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works what change he expects in the index in the cost of new construction in the course of 1970.

Mr. John Silkin

It is too early to make a reliable forecast of the movement in construction costs in 1970.

Mr. Ward

Is the Minister aware of the E.D.C.'s estimate that construction costs may rise by between 5 and 7 per cent? Is not that disturbing? Does the right hon. Gentleman plan any measures to combat that rise?

Mr. Silkin

The National Federation of Building Trades Employers believes that there should be about a 3 per cent. rise as a result of the increase under the productivity agreement, provided employers do not get a return in productivity. But they probably will, and that is the point of it. Material costs are expected to rise by 2 to 3 per cent. The whole forecast must be seen in the light of those two assessments.