HC Deb 27 November 1967 vol 755 cc18-9
31. Mr. John Wells

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works what proportion of building resources is dependent upon imported raw materials.

Mr. Mellish

Imports at present account for about 8 per cent. of the value of the output of the construction industry.

Mr. Wells

Presuming that the 8 per cent. is on raw material only and not on labour input as well, can the right hon. Gentleman say what effect devaluation is likely to have on raw material prices?

Mr. Mellish

It is our estimate that, due to the effect of devaluation on imported materials, there is likely to be an increase of a little more than 1 per cent. on average construction costs if overseas suppliers do not reduce their prices. As I said in reply to an earlier Question, we are looking at the whole question of imports to see whether alternative materials can be used.

Mr. Frederic Harris

Can the right hon. Gentleman say what the estimate is likely to mean in real terms on the average cost of a house?

Mr. Mellish

We estimate that the higher cost involved is between £30 and £40.