HC Deb 12 May 1953 vol 515 cc1047-8
36. Mr. Donnelly

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what instructions he has issued to his regional officers since 1st January, 1953 regarding future housing allocations for local authorities.

Mr. H. Macmillan

There are no longer yearly housing allocations for local authorities. In view of the tremendous impetus of the housing drive, I have instructed my regional officers to take the necessary steps to see that the rate of building is not prejudiced by an excessive expansion of the programme having regard to the labour and materials available. I estimate that we are now running at practically full speed with our present resources.

Mr. Donnelly

In those instructions which the right hon. Gentleman has given are there any instructions of any kind which would reduce the local authority's own housing allocations for local authority building as opposed to the building of private enterprise houses?

Mr. Macmillan

I have already explained that the allocation system is obsolete. We are trying to get a properly phased and timed programme. Last year we built 33,000 more houses to let than the year before. We have at the moment 247,000 houses to let under construction, which is 40,000 more than this time last year and 64,000 more than this time two years ago, so I think I have carried out my pledges.

Mr. Braine

Is it not a fact that the manufacturers of building materials are giving splendid support to the building programme? Can my right hon. Friend say by how much cement production has risen in this country since 1950?

Mr. Macmillan

It goes on rising all the time but broadly speaking I think it rose about 10 per cent. last year and I should think that from three years ago it has risen by about 20 per cent.

Mr. Porter

Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that he is in a false position when he claims credit for the number of houses under construction, and at the same time he is telling people that the lack of homes is because building materials are not available?

Mr. Macmillan

Those are very good reasons why the programme should be brought to maximum productivity. It is as bad to overload it as it is to underload it.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Will my right hon. Friend do all he can to secure the maximum production of building materials?

Mr. Macmillan

Yes, Sir.

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