HC Deb 08 February 1940 vol 357 cc405-6
69. Mr. Hannah

asked the Minister of Health whether it is the intention of the Government to discourage for the duration of the war all building not of direct service in carrying on hostilities?

Mr. Elliot

My hon. Friend will, I am sure, appreciate that the class of building by private enterprise, which formed the bulk of building activity before the war, cannot, owing to other calls on materials and to the impossibility of providing the necessary capital in war-time, continue on any considerable scale during the war. I shall, however, continue to give sympathetic consideration in the light of the demand on materials and of the financial position, to proposals, whether from private enterprise or from local authorities, for the completion of houses and the building of a certain number of new houses required for the accommodation of workers in the factory and on the land.

Mr. H. Morrison

In considering this matter, will the right hon. Gentleman keep in mind the fact that, as has been admitted by the Minister of Labour, there is a serious increase of unemployment in the building industry?

Mr. Elliot

I will keep all these matters in mind, but, as the right hon. Gentleman well knows, the unemployment in the building industry, as my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour stated, is below the corresponding level of a year ago.

Mr. T. Smith

Is not the Minister aware that in some localities the problem of slum clearance is very acute and will he expedite a decision?

Mr. Elliot

I am desirous of carrying on with the clearance of slums as far as it is possible but we must have regard both to labour and materials.

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