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Small practices are important, I said

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letters

May I correct a fundamental and damaging misquote in an otherwise fair summary of my Portland Place presentation (News aj 21.1.99). I said, both before and after a lengthy answer to a question on riba councillors' understanding of small practices, that, 'the riba can do nothing directly to improve the lot of small practice'. You omitted 'directly' with the consequence of completely misrepresenting my intentions.

I am happy to confirm that neither I nor the riba can intervene directly; the future of small practice lies in the hands of small practitioners. Basic survival is often the primary objective.

That does not mean that the riba can stand aside with no role to play. I have clearly stated at numerous venues that: 'There is no choice between delivering quality services to members (small practices in particular), engaging in the intellectual and political debate, or publicising the benefits of using an architect. We need to do all these things and do them a great deal better.'

COLIN JAMES

Witney, Oxfordshire

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