HC Deb 24 April 1950 vol 474 cc591-2
41. Sir Hugh Lucas-Tooth

asked the Minister of Works what is the reason for the present shortage of cement for house-building in London and the suburbs; and whether he proposes to take any action to remedy the position.

61. Mr. H. Price

asked the Minister of Works if he is aware that builders in Lewisham, S.E., are being seriously hampered by a shortage of cement; and if he will take steps to increase supplies which have fallen to between 20 per cent. and 331 per cent. of quota in many cases.

63. Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

asked the Minister of Works whether he is satisfied that adequate supplies of cement are now available in the London area.

67. Mr. F. Elwyn Jones

asked the Minister of Works to what extent and why there is a shortage of cement supplies to builders and builders' merchants in the London area.

Mr. Stokes

The delivery of cement to the London area, as to the country as a whole, is greater than ever before at this time of the year. So also, however, is the volume of orders at present, following the mild winter, when there was little interference with work on sites and the usual stocks could not, therefore, be accumulated. My Department is in constant consultation with the manufacturers upon the best distribution of supplies, and I am glad to say that deliveries to work in progress, including house building sites, are improving.

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that builders are complaining that they cannot get enough cement with which to continue work, which is seriously interfering with the building of houses?

Mr. Stokes

Whenever cases have been brought to my notice, particularly in the London area, they have been dealt with immediately. The facts are that deliveries have been much greater than last year. It is entirely owing to the unprecedentedly mild winter that these conditions have prevailed.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Has my right hon. Friend's attention been drawn to any case in which cement has been supplied on condition that the purchaser also took some other material?

Mr. Stokes

No, Sir.

Mr. Price

Is the Minister aware that deliveries of cement at Lewisham during the past weeks have been only 20 to 30 per cent. of the merchant builders' quota? How does he reconcile that fact with his answer?

Mr. Stokes

I can only inform the hon. Member that the last full weeks' supply to the London area was the record of over 26,000 tons as compared with 23,000 tons per week in 1949.

Mr. Hutchinson

Has the Minister's attention been directed to the quantity of cement being used for purposes connected with the Festival of Britain?

Mr. Stokes

The hon. and learned Member is quite wrong. The amount being used for the Festival of Britain constitutes only about 2 per cent. of the supplies coming into London.