HC Deb 08 July 1943 vol 390 cc2242-3
34. Mr. James Griffiths

asked the Minister of Health whether he can give the highest and lowest tender received for the erection of rural houses; and whether he can provide an analysis indicating what part of the tender represents cost of material and of labour?

Mr. E. Brown

The highest approved tender for building is £966 per house plus £33 for roads, sewers, architects' fees, etc., and the lowest is £644 per house, plus £53 for those purposes. As to the second part of the Question, the proportion of the tender price which is attributable to the cost of materials and labour respectively will vary from tender to tender according to the conditions and the nature of the work and the organisation, circumstances and personal judgment of the tenderer and I am, therefore, unable to analyse the foregoing figures under those two headings. But I am advised that of the total cost of labour and materials used in building a working class house, roughly 6o per cent. is normally represented by materials and 40 per cent. by labour.

Mr. Levy

May I ask the Minister which of the tenders come from the local authorities and from private enterprise, the highest or the lowest?

Mr. Brown

The answer is that all the tenders have been submitted by contractors to the local authorities.

Sir J. Lamb

Were the specifications of these houses the same in both cases?

Mr. Brown


Mr. Levy

Why subsidise the local authorities?

Mr. Craven-Ellis

Will the Minister say whether in arriving at these estimates the cost of the services rendered by the six or more Ministers concerned and their staffs are included in those costs?

Mr. Brown

My hon. Friend must bear in mind that Parliament decided in the laws giving the powers to the Ministers concerned what functions each should perform.

Mr. J. Griffiths

Will the Minister say whether his analysis indicates quite clearly that these very high prices for houses are very much more due to increases in prices of materials than increases in cost of labour?

Mr. Brown

I would not like to draw that conclusion. There are other elements to be considered besides that, which no doubt will all be considered.

Major-General Sir Alfred Knox

Is not the cost of labour a large element in the cost of material?