HC Deb 28 October 1952 vol 505 cc1721-2
26. Mr. Sparks

asked the Minister of Works the capital cost of new industrial construction and extensions approved by licence since October, 1951; and the comparative figures for the period October, 1950, to October, 1951.

Mr. Eccles

£126 million from October, 1950, to September, 1951, and £109 million from October, 1951, to September. 1952. These figures relate, not to work done, but to work licensed. The building industry was overloaded in 1951 and the new Government had to impose a ban on new starts from November to February. There was also a shortage of steel in the early part of the year. These difficulties are being overcome and in future it will be possible to licence more industrial work.

Mr. Sparks

Would the right hon. Gentleman say to what extent labour and material has been diverted from industrial construction to housing development?

Mr. Eccles

I think very little indeed, because housing takes so little steel. If we are to do more industrial work we must have more steel. We are now in a position to allocate more steel to erect steel-framed buildings such as industrial buildings, and the total of industrial construction will increase.