HC Deb 22 March 1948 vol 448 cc2548-9
10 and 11 Mr. Skeffington-Lodge

asked the Minister of Works (1) how long he expects it will be before the full production of bricks in Bedfordshire will be restored; and what steps are being taken to clear and make use of the accumulated stocks in this part of the country for housing;

(2) what are the reasons for the closure of Elstow Brickworks, Bedfordshire, and for the reduction in the night shift at the Stewartby works, having regard to Me housing needs of the country.

Mr. Key

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Ealing, East (Sir F. Sanderson), on 15th March.

Sir W. Smithers

Is not this surplus of bricks due to the political venom of the Minister of Health?

Mr. Oliver Stanley

Is it not a fact that only a few months ago the Minister was pressing brickworks which had been closed during the war to reopen? Is it not the case now that many brickworks which were reopened at great expense will have to be closed?

Mr. Key

It is true that some time ago we were pressing them to reopen. The present situation is testimony to the efficiency of what we did. The immediate difficulty is only temporary, and I am sure that it will be overcome in a short period.

Mr. Skeffington-Lodge

Does the situation which is set out in my Questions virtually mean that the supply of bricks has outrun the supply of timber in this country, and if so how soon will the balance be redressed?

Mr. Key

The limiting factors in building work are timber and steel. Without them, the consumption of bricks cannot be brought up to the normal standard.