HC Deb 20 April 1948 vol 449 cc1606-7
16. Mr. J. L. Williams

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has considered a letter from Messrs. Alexander Hall & Son, Builders, Limited, stating that shortage of cement seriously retards their output of Cruden prefabricated houses and affects all housing throughout Scotland; if he has investigated the facts of this complaint; and what steps are being taken to relieve the shortage.

Mr. Woodburn

I am aware that there has been a general shortage of cement in Scotland and that some housing contracts have been affected. My right hon. Friend the Minister of Works has, however, recently made arrangements substantially to increase the amount of seaborne supplies to Scotland, and as a temporary measure supplementary supplies by road are being arranged.

Mr. Kirkwood

Will the right hon. Gentleman also take into consideration the fact that I have here a telegram from Dumbarton which says that the management of the firm manufacturing aluminium houses has told the workers that after November there will be no more orders for the houses, and that that means that about 3,000 workers in my constituency will be thrown out of work?

Mr. Woodburn

That is another question of which I would require notice.

Commander Galbraith

Is the Minister aware that the shortage of cement is always recurring in Scotland, and will he take steps to see that the Minister of Works deals with the matter more expeditiously than he has done recently?

Mr. Woodburn

What is more satisfactory, the Minister of Works is taking the steps to deal with it expeditiously.

Lady Grant

Is the Minister aware that I put down an exactly similar Question and I was informed that the Secretary of State for Scotland could not reply to it, but that the Minister of Works could? Therefore, it was transferred to the Minister of Works and it is now Question No. 83 on the Order Paper. Will the right hon. Gentleman explain why he could not answer my Question?

Mr. Woodburn

I do not control the distribution of cement. That is a matter for the Minister of Works. I have consulted with the Minister of Works who has agreed to see that cement is brought to Scotland immediately.