HC Deb 27 June 1940 vol 362 cc571-2
4. Mr. Burke

asked the Minister of Labour whether he has any plans designed to utilise firms in the building industry, particularly the smaller firms, many of whom have had to dismiss their employeés owing to lack of orders or inquiries from Government Departments?

Mr. Bevin

The Departments responsible for the letting of building contracts are represented on the Works and Building Priority Committee, and in accordance with that committee's policy are endeavouring to spread such contracts over as wide a range as possible.

Mr. Burke

Is the Minister aware that in February his predecessor promised that something should be done in the matter of the smaller firms, but that today they are still without even inquiries for estimates, while three or four large firms have all the work throughout the country?

Mr. Bevin

I am not responsible for the allocation of the orders for building. I can only refer my hon. Friend to the Building Priority Committee. If he will put down a Question a little later, I will look into the matter more deeply.

Lieut.-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore

Cannot the small people be given a chance to do war work, as the big people are getting a monopoly?

Mr. Neil Maclean

Is my right hon. Friend aware that a large number of contracts have been handed out to a very few large contractors without their sending in any tenders, while the small firms have been completely neglected?

Mr. Bevin

I will look into the matter, but I would remind my hon. Friend that it is the contracts Department and not my Department which allocates these orders.