§ Mr. Coldrick
asked the Minister of Town and Country Planning if he will make a statement as to the progress made in rebuilding bomb-damaged cities.
§ Mr. Silkin
This varies widely. Progress up to date has been restricted by the need announced in the White Paper on Capital Investment in 1948, to concentrate available resources on investment which would make an early contribution to our economic recovery. Now, however, as my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade informed the House last Thursday, it has been decided that a small start can be made on the rebuilding of the centres of blitzed cities, in accordance with their plan for reconstruction, even where this condition is not fulfilled. It has further been decided that as I am responsible for approving plans it will be convenient for my Department to deal in the first place with proposals for the rebuilding of the blitzed cities, consulting with other Departments as may be necessary and in particular with the Ministry of Works about the labour and materials involved. My officers are accordingly asking the local authorities concerned for estimates of what can be done within the very limited amount of steel and other materials that is likely to be available.