HC Deb 01 March 1928 vol 214 cc582-3
17. Colonel WOODCOCK

asked the Minister of Health whether the capacity of British brickyards is yet equal to the house demand; if so, if he is prepared to make it a condition of future housing subsidies that only British bricks are to be used; and the total value of imported bricks for the last year?


I have no statistics in regard to the capacity of British brickyards, but I am not aware of any shortage of bricks in this country for house building. With regard to the second part of the question, 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. The value of the total imports into the United Kingdom of bricks of brick earth or clay registered during 1927 was £705,964.


Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that there is a large number of brickyard workers out of employment, and cannot he make some restriction of this sort on foreign bricks in order to help the situation?


I think that the reply is covered by the answer which I have given. I am tied in the matter by Statute, but I have looked into the figures, and, as I find that the imports of bricks are only something less than 5 per cent. of the total quantity used in this country, I do not, think the matter is very serious.


Is there any shortage of bricklayers?


No, Sir.


Then is the Minister prepared to withdraw his slanders against the building trade?


Are there not municipalities in this country producing and selling bricks at a price cheaper than any of the imported bricks?


That question does not arise.

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