HC Deb 09 June 1943 vol 390 cc691-3
19. Mr. Bossom

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works the number of bricks required to be laid on a straight wall under the Essential Work Order in a day; and what was the normal number laid in a typical pre-war undertaking?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works (Mr. Hicks)

For the most usual types of brickwork, namely 4i inch and 9 inch pointed both sides, the datum line laid down in the Payment by Results Scheme under the Essential Work (Building and Civil Engineering) Order is 24o and 336 bricks per bricklayer respectively for an eight hour day. Bonus is payable for output in excess of this datum. I regret that no accurate information is available as to the normal number of bricks laid in a typical pre-war undertaking.

Mr. Bossom

Can my hon. Friend state the approximate number which he would have required them to lay when he was in charge of operations of this

nature? Would it not have been over twice this number?

Mr. Hicks

I think that would be very unfair to the other bricklayers.

Mr. Higgs

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that under exceptional circumstances 4,000 bricks a day have been laid?

Mr. Kirkwood

You could not handle 4,000 a day, let alone lay them.

Mr. Austin Hopkinson

In view of the scandalous state of affairs disclosed by the hon. Gentleman's answer, what steps does the Ministry of Works mean to take to put an end to it?

Mr. Hicks

I think it has to be remembered that the industry has contributed well over 500,000 of its young personnel to the Services and to munition work, and I beg hon. Members to remember that the industry in consequence has become age-heavy. Furthermore, I would ask them to try to relate the building we are considering now with the type of building that was engaged in pre-war. With door- ways and with window openings and with varying heights and all those things to be taken into consideration, I can assure my hon. Friend that it is not an unfair number.

Mr. Holdsworth

If this rate of laying bricks is maintained after the war, will it not make post-war housing absolutely impossible?

Mr. Hicks

No, Sir. The question is affected by the type and character of the work. It may be easy to multiply the figure given by. three, and that is frequently done to-day, but with 4½ inch brick building, pointed both sides, together with the other facts I have indicated, I suggest to hon. Members that it is not an unfair figure.