HC Deb 05 May 1947 vol 437 cc1-2
1 and 5. Mr. William Shepherd

asked the Minister of Works (1) what is his estimate of the percentage of output of building trades operatives as compared with 1938;

(2) the average number of bricks laid at the present time and the average number laid in prewar years.

The Minister of Works (Mr. Key)

I regret that no reliable figures are available on which a comparison could be made.

Mr. Shepherd

Surely, the Minister is aware of the prewar formula of one house per person per year. How does that compare with the results so far achieved?

Mr. Key

The accuracy of the prewar formula is something that has to be decided to start with, as I have no reliable information on what it was based.

Mr. Marples

How can the Minister reconcile his statement with that made by the men's leaders when the wage increase was granted in January, 1946, pledging themselves to increase output to what it was prewar?

Mr. Key

That is not the Question I was asked. I was asked to say definitely what has been the percentage of increase. I cannot do that without the necessary information.

Mr. Derek Walker-Smith

Will not the Minister agree that, on such figures as there are, the output at present is far lower than it was in 1938; and will he not further agree that this is primarily due to the Government's policy having got the building industry and the building materials industry out of date?

Mr. Key

I do not accept that. First, there has been a great deal of talk about the decrease in what has been done, bet none of that has been proved. Secondly, conditions are different today from what they were before the war.

Captain Crookshank

Will the Minister consult his noble Friend Lord Quibell on this matter?