HC Deb 13 February 1924 vol 169 cc839-41
9. Captain TERRELL

asked the Minister of Labour how many dilutees have been introduced into the building industry since the War; whether they have received assistance and training from the men working with them; and what is the policy of the present Ministry in respect to still further dilution?


I assume that the hon. and gallant Member refers to adults who have entered the skilled classes in the building industry direct and not through the ordinary channel of apprenticeship. I am not in a position to say how many of these men have entered or are working in the industry. The whole subject of the augmentation of skilled workers in the building industry is at present the subject of consideration with the building trade employers and operatives. I am pleased to say that bosh bodies have promised loyally to co-operate with the Government in their desire to deal with the present housing shortage.


Is there any truth in the statement in mid-day Press that the negotiations which are taking place between the Government and the building trade unions have broken down?


I know nothing of any breakdown. I have not seen the report in question.


Then everything is satisfactory?

Lieut.-Colonel FREMANTLE

Will the, right hon. Gentleman give definite figures as to the number of dilutees under the London County Council schemes for the last four years?


Perhaps the hon. Member will put that question down.


asked the Minister of Health what steps he is taking to add to the strength, and to accelerate the number, of apprentices in the various skilled arms of the building industry?


I have been asked to reply. With my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health, I have had a number of discussions with the building trade employers and operatives on the subject of the supply of labour for housing purposes. I am glad to say that the representatives of the two parties have promised to give the Government their assistance and to submit proposals with regard to a number of matters, including the question of apprenticeship.


Is the right hon. Gentleman personally satisfied that there will have to be a considerable addition in the various branches of the building trade?


I am perfectly satisfied you can only get progress by agreement between the men who know how to build. I think the negotiations have been very successful, and that the result will be a great increase not only in the number of workers in the building trade but in production also.


Can the right hon. Gentleman give the House any indication when a definite statement is likely to be made, in view of the possibility of strikes in the building trade which have been threatened?


I can give no definite date for the statement to be made, but I can assure hon. Members that the negotiations are being pushed as rapidly as possible with all the interests concerned, and a definite statement will be made as early as possible.


Is it not the fact that the absence of apprentices in the building trade is due to the prevalence of so much broken time, not only of the apprenticeship but also in the fully pledged period? Has not apprenticeship fallen into disuse because they cannot get continuous employment?

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