§ 29. Sir R. THOMAS
asked the Minister of Labour what is the present state of unemployment in the slate industry; and to what extent the use of roof-covering materials imported from abroad is permitted in the building of Government-assisted houses?
§ Major Sir HARRY BARNSTON (The Comptroller of the Household)
I have been asked to reply on behalf of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health.
At 25th April, 1927, the latest date for which figures are available, 122 insured persons classified as belonging to the slate quarrying and mining industry, or 1.1 per cent. of the numbers insured, were recorded as unemployed in Great Britain. With regard to the last part of the question, the position is that Section 10 of the Housing (Financial Provisions) Act, 1924, provides that, in approving proposals for the construction of houses, the Minister of Health shall not impose any conditions which would prevent the materials required being purchased in the cheapest market at home or abroad. The Government have, however, urged local authorities to arrange that all contracts for or incidental to works carried out by them should, in the absence of special circumstances, be placed in this country.
§ Sir R. THOMAS
Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that the material imported into this country for roofing purposes is far inferior to the slates obtained from the quarries of North Wales, and will he take an interest in the quality as well as the price?