§ 86. Mr. R. MORRISON
asked the Minister of Health whether he intends to take any steps to control the prices of building materials, with a view to preventing rings and combines from charging increased prices?
I have consulted with my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade upon this matter, and we have decided to set up a small Committee, which will include representatives of the two Departments, the building trade, and local authorities, in order to watch the course of prices and to keep the Government accurately informed of their movements.
§ Mr. HARDIE
Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that it is not only a question of keeping an eye on prices, but of keeping an eye on the industry right through from the time when the manufacture begins, rather on prices when the goods reach the market?
§ Major McKENZIE WOOD
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the late Government gave a pledge to introduce legislation for the control of trusts and rings?
Does the term "representatives of the building trades"include builders or only employers?
With regard to the first question, it is the price that matters; what we want to see is that prices are not raised unduly. With regard to the second question, no Government can commit its successors. As to the last question, I have not yet decided exactly how these representatives will be appointed.
§ Mr. J. JONES
Will the right hon. Gentleman be prepared to appoint representatives of the trade unions and guilds of the building trade on this Committee?
We cannot have too many representatives, but I am quite prepared to consider putting on representatives of the trade unions.
§ Mr. HOPKINSON
Arising out of the original question, will the right hon. Gentleman inform us what is the use of setting up these committees to watch the alteration in prices, when it is perfectly easy for those who have to build to watch the rise of prices?
§ 88. Mr. EDWARDS
asked the Minister of Health whether, seeing that the cost of building houses is adversely affected by the existence of rings and trusts, he will consider setting up national factories for the production of these materials, and thus cheapen houses and relieve unemployment by using the skilled men now unemployed?