HC Deb 12 November 1969 vol 791 cc395-6
30. Mr. Allason

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works what discussions he is having with the building industry about the problems facing small builders.

Mr. John Silkin

No representations have been made to me, but I am always willing to consider any.

Mr. Allason

Has the right hon. Gentleman not heard from the construction industry that it feels that it is facing the worst setback in its programme in the last 20 years? Does he not feel that something must be done for the small builder, otherwise there is a grave danger that very soon householders will not be able to get their repairs done?

Mr. Silkin

I do not think the building industry takes the matter quite as dramatically as the hon. Gentleman does, but I understand the problems, and I should like to help. I tried to say earlier that many of the actions of the Government during the past four years have been of considerable assistance in this regard.

Mr. Hefter

I am not particularly enamoured with private enterprise, but will my right hon. Friend nevertheless recognise the immediate situation in the building industry and make it quite clear to his right hon. Friends that there must be some assistance in relation to credit facilities not only to help the small builder but to help the building operative to get over a very difficult period?

Mr. Silkin

I said that the first question is the question of the economy itself. There are ways and means by which the small builder might be helped by practical action. For example, accounts should be paid promptly, and I know that my Department—and I am pleased about this—has given a very firm lead in seeing that accounts are quickly and promptly paid.