§ 3. Major COLVILLE
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware that a large quantity of foreign manufactured woodwork is being used in State-aided housing schemes in Scotland; and, if so, what steps he is prepared to take to promote a greater use of articles of British manufacture?
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for SCOTLAND (Mr. Johnston)
I am aware of the recent increase in the figures for imported builders' woodwork. Notwithstanding Sub-section 1 of Section 10 of the Housing (Financial Provisions) Act, 1924, which, so far as housing schemes under that Act are concerned, prohibits the imposition of any condition which would prevent materials from being purchased in the cheapest market either at home or abroad, a circular was issued by my Department on the 23rd December last urging local authorities in Scotland to make use to the utmost practicable extent of goods and materials of home production in the case of contracts entered into by them not only for houses but also for all other works. I am sending the hon. and gallant Member a copy of the circular.
§ Major COLVILLE
In view of the large number of joiners who are unemployed in Scotland at the present time, does not the hon. Gentleman think that it is time the Act was amended to make the use of British materials obligatory in these schemes?
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
The best answer that I can give to the question is to call attention to the terms of the circular of recommendations which I sent to the local authorities.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
Has not the hon. Gentleman the power, in the case of imported goods made under unfair conditions, to deal with them in the same way as that which is provided by the Fair Wages Clause in respect of home work?
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
Yes, Sir. In certain cases goods made under these conditions can be prohibited altogether.
Lieut.-Colonel Sir FREDERICK HALL
What are fair conditions of labour? Are they the conditions operating in this country?