HC Deb 21 May 1969 vol 784 c106W
Mr. Gregor Mackenzie

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works if he will make a statement on the supply of bricks in Scotland.

Mr. John Silkin

Brick production in Scotland in the winter months of 1968–69 was not high enough to provide an adequate stock from which to meet the increased demand in March and April particularly in the Central Belt. In this area, therefore, not all demands can currently be met from local brickworks and builders are obliged to go further afield within Scotland or south of the border for some supplies.

Scottish brickmakers have advised me that this shortfall is not due to any general lack of capacity but to a loss of labour to other employment and to some additional loss of output from other causes. I am discussing with my right hon. Friends, the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity and the Secretary of State for Scotland what can be done to help the industry overcome its difficulties and so enable production to be increased.

I must stress that the excess of demand over production is currently being contained to within quite narrow limits; production for the first four months of this year being only about 6 per cent. below last year's record figure.