Oral Answers to Questions — Building Industry (Small Concerns).

– in the House of Commons on 25th February 1942.

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Photo of Mr Alfred Edwards Mr Alfred Edwards , Middlesbrough East

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works and Buildings whether his attention has been drawn to the position of a number of medium sized and small building concerns who are threatened with total stoppage; and whether he will avoid the policy of creating a building monopoly for a few large concerns?

Photo of Mr George Hicks Mr George Hicks , Woolwich East

I am aware that some of the medium sized and smaller building concerns are apprehensive as to their ability to continue; and I regret that, as the amount of building work that can be done is diminishing, there will necessarily be fewer opportunities of work open to all firms in the industry. I fully appreciate, however, the need for keeping this important part of the industry in existence and every practical step is being taken to secure that, within the limits of a contracting programme, the medium sized and smaller building concerns are given an opportunity of tendering for work which is available and for which they are suited.

Photo of Mr Alfred Edwards Mr Alfred Edwards , Middlesbrough East

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that under the present arrangements of different categories he practically guarantees perpetual work to the larger firms, and that as large contracts diminish these firms often come into a lower category but the smaller man drops out completely? Will he look into that system and see that fair play is given to the smaller contractors?

Photo of Mr George Hicks Mr George Hicks , Woolwich East

My hon. Friend is aware that every effort is being made to see that where a large contract is given it is insisted upon that there shall be a large amount of sub-contracting so that the smaller firms may be used.

Photo of Mr Wilfrid Burke Mr Wilfrid Burke , Burnley

Can the Parliamentary Secretary not make arrangements so that when a large contract is given in the North some of the available labour there is used instead of having it brought from the South?

Photo of Mr Alfred Edwards Mr Alfred Edwards , Middlesbrough East

Is the Parliamentary Secretary confirming what I said that the larger contractors are practically guaranteed perpetual work?

Photo of Mr George Hicks Mr George Hicks , Woolwich East

I noticed my hon. Friend's observation. It is not the view of my Noble Friend.