HC Deb 21 March 1950 vol 472 cc1739-40
15. Mrs. Jean Mann

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware chat the factories producing permanent houses are not being employed to their maximum potential and, since there are enough of them to provide a price on a competitive basis without drawing on the pool of skilled labour, if he will encourage a maximum output on a reasonable time basis.

Mr. T. Fraser

In order to maintain,good housing progress, my right hon. Friend is most anxious to encourage the building of approved types of non-traditional houses. For this purpose he proposes, when intimating further allocations of houses to local authorities shortly, to ask them to arrange that at least 40 per cent. of the houses in the larger schemes will be of these types.

Mrs. Mann

Would my hon. Friend agree that that is not the best use to make of the factory which produces permanent houses and that to get its full potential we must get bulk orders and continuity?

Mr. Fraser

It is some considerable time since my right hon. Friend decided to discontinue the bulk ordering of houses, or components for houses, on a large scale for the new housing developments and to leave the ordering of houses and components to the local authorities in the different areas.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Will the hon. Gentleman agree that if these highly elaborate factories are to be run to full advantage, there must be full continuity of orders which, I understand, was promised by the Department? In many cases that promise has not been carried out.

Mr. Fraser

No such promise was given by the Department beyond the orders that were given by the Department in 1945–46. Those orders, of course, have been taken up, but I am surprised to learn from the hon. and gallant Member that he now favours bulk purchase even for houses.

Mrs. Mann

Would my hon. Friend try to convert his right hon. Friend to the very fine result of bulk purchase and convert him to giving us the housing output we need?

Sir David Robertson

In view of the unsatisfactory answer to Question No. 14, I beg to give notice that I will raise the matter on the Adjournment.