HC Deb 19 May 1953 vol 515 cc1863-4
34. Mr. Foot

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether, in view of the Government's recently announced policy about the allocation of steel supplies, he proposes to review the licences for reconstruction permitted for bombed cities in the year 1953.

Mr. H. Macmillan

As I indicated in the debate on the blitzed cities last March, I am constantly watching the progress of reconstruction. I hope that the year 1953 will show as great if not a greater rate of progress over 1952 as that year did over 1951.

Mr. Foot

Since the Minister was good enough, following pressure put upon him in the debate we had a few weeks ago, to make a review of the position as it applied to the city of Plymouth, could he give some indication to help developers of when he is likely to be changing his mind again?

Mr. Macmillan

It is not a question of changing our mind. We did in 1952 more than £1¼ million worth of work more than my predecesor in 1951. We feel fairly satisfied, if that or a greater rate of in- crease is maintained in 1953. We shall continue to fit into the programme new projects according to the state of labour and materials which seems to justify us doing so in each particular locality. The Minister of Works—who helps me in this —and I have been not altogether unsuccessful to judge by the fall in building labour unemployment to almost negligible figures in Plymouth in the last few months.

Mr. Foot

Since the right hon. Gentleman has been good enough to answer several questions I did not put on the Order Paper, would he say when he will be able to review the allocations for building in the Plymouth City Centre to bring it up to the total of those engaged in rebuilding the city to the level at which it stood when the Labour Government were in power?

Mr. Macmillan

I suspect the hon. Member of trying to use this period of question and answer for some political advantage. [HON. MEMBERS: "Answer."] I think hon. Members opposite will be as satisfied in what I have done over the blitzed cities as they are over what we have done in the housing campaign.

Mrs. Braddock

Who is responsible for political propaganda now?