HC Deb 08 November 1944 vol 404 cc1365-6
70. Sir Granville Gibson

asked the President of the Board of Trade why it is considered necessary to incur an expenditure of £485,000 on a new building for dealing with surplus Government stores at a time of great housing shortage when there are 1,000 Government factories available and, after the war with Germany, further Government owned factories will be available for the purpose to which it is intended to devote the factory proposed to be built at North Shields.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade (Captain Waterhouse)

The demand for factories for war production and buildings for storage greatly exceeds the present supply; and this is particularly true in areas such as North Shields. Many of the Government buildings suitable for factory purposes will not become available to industrialists till after the end of the Japanese war.

Sir G. Gibson

How does the Minister justify the statement he has just made with what the President of the Board of Trade stated—that there are i,000 Government factories available to-day—and how can he justify the expenditure of nearly £500,000 on new Government buildings, when there are so many Government buildings available and there is such a terrible shortage of houses in the country?

Captain Waterhouse

My right hon. Friend has never stated that there were 1,000, or even 10, Government factories available to-day, but they may eventually be available. I think my hon. Friend would agree that, if we can build storage capacity, it will enable us the sooner to free industrial buildings, which is most desirable.