HC Deb 13 May 1948 vol 450 cc2262-3
27. Mr. Harrison

asked the Minister of Health whether, in view of the fact, which has been drawn to his notice, that members of the National Master Builders' Association have adequate stocks of materials to hand to build houses for private sale, he will look into this matter with the object of utilising these urgently-needed materials for the housing schemes that are being held up by shortages of such materials.

Mr. Bevan

If the members of the Association have got materials on licence then, no doubt, they will use them for the work for which the licence was issued. If they have got controlled materials without licences then I should be pleased to have details so that an investigation can be made.

Mr. Harrison

Can the Minister say why master builders are so keen to build houses for private sale instead of for public schemes?

Mr. Bevan

I expect my hon. Friend knows the answer as well as I do. There are, of course, a number of master builders in different parts of the country who continually say that they have all the materials they need to build houses. If I can get hold of one of them, I will deal with him.

Mr. H. Hynd

If my right hon. Friend can find any surplus materials will he try to divert them for urgently needed repairs to existing property?

Mr. Bevan

Certainly, but the materials, including timber, steel and other things of that sort, are in short supply. As I have said before, although there are considerable stocks of timber in the country, these stocks are now being run down rapidly.