HC Deb 14 April 1970 vol 799 cc1202-3
31. Mr. Henig

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works when he now expects to introduce legislation to end the practice of lump labour.

Mr. John Silkin

I hope, by the end of this week, to introduce a Bill to deal with the whole question of labour-only sub-contracting in the construction industry.

Mr. Henig

Is my right hon. Friend aware that this news will be warmly welcomed both inside the House and amongst many millions of working men throughout the country? May I ask him whether, in advance of the Bill becoming law, which I believe it most certainly will, he will use his powers of moral suasion to make sure that on work at the Heysham power station, affecting trade unionists in my constituency, under no circumstances will any lump labour be employed, either before or after the Bill becomes law?

Mr. Silkin

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for the first part of his supplementary question. In reply to the second part, it is not a good thing for Ministers to intervene in industrial disputes.

Sir Frederic Bennett

Would the Minister care to estimate, if and when his Bill becomes law, whether the effects will be to increase or reduce the price of houses?

Mr. Silkin

The implication of the hon. Gentleman's question is that he wishes an abuse which causes the British taxpayer considerable losses to continue. If one takes a balance of what the taxpayer will save and what it may cost in construction, the undoubted advantage is to the community.