HC Deb 01 February 1966 vol 723 cc883-4
Q7. Mr. Ian Gilmour

asked the Prime Minister what plans he has to improve the co-ordination between the Ministry of Public Building and Works and the Ministry of Housing and Local Government in the use of building materials.

The Prime Minister

None, Sir, since the present arrangements are satisfactory.

Mr. Gilmour

Is not the Prime Minister aware that by a remarkable piece of purposive planning the Minister of Housing and Local Government has built 50,000 houses fewer than was expected by the Minister of Public Building and Works, with the result that there is a vast glut of bricks? Is this satisfactory co-ordination?

The Prime Minister

The hon. Gentleman, who obviously cannot have followed the exchanges which took place yesterday, should be aware that his facts are totally wrong on this. The facts were very fully explained by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Public Building and Works yesterday, and the hon. Gentleman will find that we shall need all the bricks for the fulfilment of our housing programme.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

How can the right hon. Gentleman regard co-ordination as satisfactory when at one and the same time bricks enough to build 30,000 houses have had to be stocked, brickworks have had to cease production, and the Minister of Housing has failed to achieve his predecessor's completions for last year by 17,000 houses?

The Prime Minister

What I cannot understand is why the right hon. Gentleman still has not followed what was said yesterday on this point. First, the stocks of bricks are lower than they were two years ago under the right hon. Gentleman's Administration and, secondly, there were more closures of brickworks in 1964 than there were in 1965. With regard to the third part of the question, which we have had so often from the right hon. Gentleman in late night statements and in other ways, as I have made clear a number of times the target of the right hon. Gentleman's Administration was one thing, but in fact we would have been very much further from the target, as they would have been, if we had not taken the measures which we took, and which they opposed, to stop office building and to stop other projects which were causing a shortage of labour for the housing programme.