HC Deb 01 July 1952 vol 503 cc233-4
33. Mr. Patrick Maitland

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will consider giving assistance to the Scottish quarrying industry to undertake mechanisation and lower unit costs while correspondingly raising the output of dressed stone, as was done in the same industry in France.

Mr. J. Stuart

I have no power to give financial assistance to the industry. Much is being done, however, to encourage stone construction in Scotland, notably by the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board. I understand that since the beginning of this year public buildings and other works incorporating stone construction have been begun to a total estimated cost of over £750,000, and since the war several local authorities have built houses wholly or partially in stone where the cost was reasonable.

Apart from this, the Building Materials Committee of the Scottish Council are considering the steps that can be taken to increase building in stone, and the further action that it may be possible to take will be considered when the Committee's report is received.

Mr. Maitland

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the output of dressed stone in France has been doubled since the war thanks to Government assistance, and that there is abundant and informative material on this subject that was produced at the Building Research Congress of 1951?

Mr. McInnes

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research carried out a very extensive examination in Scotland into this industry, and that the Report of that body is now in his possession? Will he be prepared to afford an opportunity of debating that Report in this House?

Mr. Stuart

I am afraid I cannot guarantee a debate on the subject because the Report contains confidential information, but it is being considered whether we can issue some summary of the contents.