§ Mr. W. THORNE
asked the Minister of Health whether the director of houses attached to his Department has considered what are the best kind of houses to build, brick or reinforced concrete; whether there is any difference in the cost of building 100 houses of similar size; if he is aware that a number of tenders have been approved for houses that will cost £100 more than they would have done this time last year on account of the increase in the price of building material; and if he is taking steps to deal with the question?
Cottages can be designed and constructed in concrete so1642W as to be as durable as brick. The relative degrees of economy will depend upon various local circumstances, but particularly upon the availability and cost of bricks, suitable aggregate and skilled labour. The cost per house is not necessarily reduced by the building of a large number, though in the case of concrete construction it is probable that increasing the number of standardised houses to be built at one time will give some advantage. My right hon. Friend is aware that there has been some increase in price since January of last year, but it does not appear that this can be accounted for by the increase in the price of building materials. The question of the best means of securing building materials at reasonable prices is at present under consideration.
The question of the steps that can best be taken to secure the provision of sufficient supplies of material to ensure the carrying out of an adequate housing programme is one which my right hon. Friend has asked the building industry and the manufacturers of material to consider. The present output of bricks is variously estimated at between 2,500 million and 4,000 million a year.