HC Deb 04 November 1918 vol 110 cc1793-4
67 and 68. Sir A. FELL

asked the Minister of Reconstruction (1) if the erection after the War of new houses is to take precedence over the repair and upkeep of present houses which are, in many cases, getting in a ruinous and uninhabitable condition; and which will have the first call on the available supplies of material; and

(2) what provision he is making to prepare the material necessary before any house building can be commenced; what prospect there is of getting the stocks of bricks and tiles that will be necessary; and if he has taken into account, in his estimate of the cost of building, the increased cost that will be occasioned if houses partly erected have to wait for the supply of material necessary for their completion?


All the problems involved in the hon. Member's questions have been exhaustively investigated on my behalf by Mr. James Carmichael with the assistance of representative gentlemen connected with the trades concerned, including two Members of this House, and the proposed scheme of operations has been discussed in detail with the chief professional and trade organisations concerned, representative both of employers and employed.

One of the governing considerations with respect to priority is clearly the provision of employment with as little delay as possible. Therefore, facilities for the carrying out of repairs which provide for the maximum amount of labour with the minimum amount of material will receive the first priority so far as material available for building are concerned.

The Report will be considered by the Standing Council on Priority this week, and I shall hope to publish it in a few days' time. The hon. Member will see therein that the most careful provision has been made beforehand to meet the very difficulties which he anticipated in these questions.


Has the right hon. Gentleman, in supplying labour for making bricks for houses, thought of employing German prisoners?


Every brickyard in the country has been marked down, and the Army authorities informed, in order to get the brickyards started. I cannot say without notice if the employment of Germans has been gone into.