HC Deb 19 June 1950 vol 476 cc853-4
48. Sir W. Smithers

asked the Lord President of the Council how many tons of cement have been or will be used on the site of the Festival of Britain on the South Bank of the Thames.

The Lord President of the Council (Mr. Herbert Morrison)

I would refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. and gallant Member for Norfolk, Central (Brigadier Medlicott) on 19th April.

Sir W. Smithers

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the hold up of house building, which the hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes) mentioned a moment ago, due to the lack of cement? Can he say how many houses could have been built with the cement wasted on buildings for the Festival of Britain? Is it not more important to provide houses for the people than to satisfy Socialist vanity?

Mr. Morrison

The proportion of cement used is a very small proportion of the cement output. If the hon. Member is dissatisfied with the output of cement he should complain to the private company concerned.

Mr. Mellish

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the output of cement is greater than it has been for a considerable time, that the Festival of Britain scheme is definitely not holding up the housing programme in London, and that this has been a Tory stunt which has proved to be false?

Mr. Morrison

I am much obliged to my hon. Friend. No doubt, in due course those points will sink into the mind of the hon. Member for Chislehurst.

Sir W. Smithers

I am not the Member for Chislehurst.

Mr. Gibson

Is it not a fact that, far from the Festival of Britain having been a hinderance to house building, last year there was an all time record of housing output in London?

49. Mr. Janner

asked the Lord President of the Council whether he will consider setting up information kiosks, manned by officials able to speak at least one foreign language, at suitable points in London during the Festival of Britain so that foreigners can be given full information on matters on which they may require guidance.

Mr. H. Morrison

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his suggestion. I understand that the Festival Office are planning to open a main information centre in the West End of London, in addition to that already open at 47, Leicester Square through the courtesy of the British Travel and Holidays Association. Staff at these centres will speak at least one foreign language.

Mr. Janner

While thanking my right hon. Friend for his reply, may I point out that that was not the purpose of the Question I put down? What I should like to ask him is whether, in view of the fact that a large number of visitors are expected, and that a number of them will probably not be able to speak English, my right hon. Friend will see that other kiosks and centres are put up at various places at which they may be able to obtain the help and information they require?

Mr. Morrison

I will keep my hon. Friend's suggestion in mind, but I think that, possibly, it is a little out of proportion to the probable need.