HC Deb 06 December 1955 vol 547 c192
39. Mr. Roy Jenkins

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what slackening there has been in the rate of initiation of industrial and commercial building projects since 26th October.

Mr. R. A. Butler

It is too soon yet to say with any certainty what the trend is.

Mr. Jenkins

Would the right hon. Gentleman not agree, therefore, that the system of building licences, at any rate for the larger projects, would enable him not merely to select but also to see where he is going?

Mr. Butler

What I am aware of is that industrial and commercial building has increased, as the House as a whole wished. I cannot give the hon. Gentleman the exact details because we collect information about new starts in arrear, but I will give him statistics directly I have them.

Mr. H. Wilson

Without entering into the exchange which we had during the Budget debate on the question of unessential building, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman if he is not aware that while some of these projects are of great national importance, others of them are a completely unjustified call on our present building resources? Also, would he not agree that some current commercial building operations are far less important than some of the public building which he is cutting out by his financial policy?

Mr. Butler

It is easy to make these generalisations without supporting them with specific instances. If the right hon. Gentleman likes to put particular cases before me, I will look at them.