asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works and Planning why Fletton bricks are being brought in very large number into the Cheltenham area by road, in spite of the urgent need to economise in the use of tyres and petrol, when there are sufficient bricks available in Cheltenham brickworks to meet all local requirements?
The carriage of bricks by rail or road is carefully controlled. It is not permissible to carry bricks without special permit for a greater distance than 75 miles by rail. With regard to road transport, the distance ordinarily permitted is 50 miles. The Fletton bricks in question are made within this radius. It is the policy of my Ministry to adjust output of bricks over the country in accordance with the estimated demand. The output of Fletton bricks, though economical in manufacture in use of man-power and coal, has been restricted to a greater extent than the brick industry generally; and it is essential in the national interest to maintain the Fletton industry as well as the rest of the brick industry. According, to my last returns, the Cheltenham brickworks were selling their full output.
Is my hon. Friend aware that I have sent him correspondence which shows that the Cheltenham Brickworks, established in the reign of King Alfred, are still going strong and could produce all the bricks that are required, and why is it necessary to bring bricks from even 50 miles away?
While thanking my hon. Friend for the information he has been kind enough to send me, I have a table here, which I can show him, which shows that his statement does not correspond exactly with the information which we have. I will show it to him afterwards at the back of the Chair.