HC Deb 04 December 1947 vol 445 cc548-9
17. Sir Patrick Hannon

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware of the delays which have taken place in Birmingham owing to the refusal of his Ministry to issue timber licences; that timber yards in Birmingham are stacked with timber suitable for housing; and if he will reconsider the situation of housing in Birmingham and issue the necessary timber licences.

Mr. Bevan

The timber requirements for housing contracts in the Birmingham area have recently been reviewed, and licences will be issued wherever necessary to maintain progress on houses under construction.

Sir P. Hannon

Is the Minister really alive to the deplorable situation of re-housing in Birmingham, and will he give every possible facility to enable us to get rid of the miserable situation in which some people are living?

Mr. Bevan

I am alive to the difficulties of housing in Birmingham. I am glad to say that the Birmingham authorities are making very good progress, and we shall give them all the help in our power.

Mr. Shurmer

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the conditions operating in Birmingham are due to the bad administration before the war?

Sir Peter Macdonald

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that not only in Birmingham, but in other parts of the country, like the Isle of Wight, adequate supplies of timber and bricks are available, and yet licences are not issued so that they may be used?

Mr. Bevan

That is entirely incorrect. Of course, there is now more timber in the country than there was some months ago. Timber stocks are always higher at this time of the year, and they run down throughout the winter as licences are issued.