§ 71. Dr. Stross
asked the Minister of Works whether he has noted that the proportion of building cost attributable to wages has been falling since 1947, but the cost attributable to materials has been increasing; the cause of the rise in the cost of materials; and what plans he has for checking it.
§ Mr. Eccles
The percentage increase in the cost of building materials since 1947 is less than the corresponding increase in earnings of building workers. In the past year wages have risen, but the price index of building materials has declined from 135 to 130. Labour costs have, nevertheless, fallen in relation to material costs partly because productivity is improving and partly because there has been a transfer from maintenance to new construction where more materials are used per man hour.