HC Deb 06 February 1940 vol 357 cc26-7
53. Sir G. Mitcheson

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his attention has been drawn to the widespread unemployment in the building industry, and what steps it is proposed to take to deal with this?

Sir J. Simon

I am informed that unemployment in the building industry since the outbreak of the war has, in the main, been substantially below that recorded at the corresponding period a year ago, although recently it has been considerably affected by weather conditions. As to the latter part of the Question, the position in the industry is being kept under continuous review by the Works and Building Priority Sub-Committee, which is an integral part of the Government's priority organisation, in consultation with the representatives of employers and workers in the industry.

Mr. Hicks

While it is true that the Priority Committee are dealing with the question of employment on Government work, is the right hon. Gentleman aware that civil buildings and opportunities for engaging in it are still a matter of serious consideration on the part of the industry because of the large unemployment that exists?

Sir J. Simon

I very much appreciate the importance of that consideration but, to a certain extent at any rate, private building is affected by the impossibility of providing all the capital necessary for it that is provided in peace time.

Mr. Buchanan

Could not the right hon. Gentleman make representations to the Secretary of State for Scotland to get on at least with some house-building in Scotland?