HC Deb 26 February 1952 vol 496 cc927-8
33. Mr. Walker-Smith

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what is the anticipated average increase in the cost of a three-bedroomed local authority house arising from the recent wage increases to building trades operatives.

Mr. H. Macmillan

Any effect of wage increases on costs cannot be estimated in isolation, since costs are affected by other factors such for example as reductions in man-hours due to increased productivity and improvements in building technique.

Mr. Walker-Smith

Can my right hon. Friend say whether any definite steps are in contemplation to offset the necessary increase in costs which will arise from the wage increase?

Mr. Macmillan

I believe that all the measures which have been taken to increase interest in, and the tempo of housing and building will have that effect, and there are special measures to introduce various economies in construction and design.

Mr. C. W. Gibson

Is not one of the greatest causes of the increased cost of building the cost of building materials? What is the Minister doing to bring down the price which "The Times" the other day referred to as the greatest rise in building material costs since the end of the war?

Mr. Macmillan

The hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends are always complaining about rises in costs and they are always attacking every Measure, monetary and otherwise, which is intended to reduce them.