HC Deb 21 July 1970 vol 804 cc214-5
3. Mr. Frank Allaun

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works how many building trade operatives are unemployed; and what steps he will take to provide them with work.

13. Mr. Heffer

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works what plans he has to reduce unemployment in the building industry.

Mr. Amery

In June of this year 93,718 persons were unemployed in the construction industry. The overall prospects are bound up with those of the economy as a whole. Meanwhile my right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government is seeking to stimulate demand for house improvements through the local authorities. My Department is encouraging the industry to renew its efforts in this direction.

Mr. Allaun

The right hon. Gentleman must realise that that is not good enough. Will he press his Ministerial colleagues to take the brakes off house building, both private and council, so that the unemployed and ill-housed may both benefit?

Mr. Amery

I can assure the hon. Gentleman that I will do my best in these directions. We hope to get back to the situation which prevailed in 1964, when only 41,872 persons, or less than half the present number, were unemployed.

Mr. Heffer

Will the right hon. Gentleman follow the lead given by my right hon. Friend the Member for Deptford (Mr. John Silkin) and discuss the whole matter with the builders? Secondly, will he press ahead with discussions with his right hon. Friends on the abolition of S.E.T. at the earliest moment? Thirdly, will he see to it that the maximum assistance for house building is given to local authorities? Fourthly, will he follow up the suggestion of giving financial help to all small builders so as to get building going again?

Mr. Amery

I have already been in touch with representatives of both sides of the industry. I am grateful for the hon. Gentleman's support in suggesting that we press on with the abolition of S.E.T.

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