Oral Answers to Questions — Brick Industry (Government Proposals).

– in the House of Commons on 6th August 1942.

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Photo of Mr Arthur Greenwood Mr Arthur Greenwood , Wakefield

(by Private Notice) asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works and Planning whether he can now make a statement on the Second Report of the Committee on the Brick Industry?

Photo of Mr George Hicks Mr George Hicks , Woolwich East

Yes, Sir. My Noble Friend wishes me to express his deep appreciation of the work which the hon. Member for Duddeston (Mr. Simmonds) and his Committee have performed in producing such a useful Report. He has given the recommendations his very careful consideration in the light of the views of the Government Departments and the various Associations concerned with the brick industry and has arrived at the following conclusions.

The proposal to set up a National Brick Council for the Industry is accepted. Its Chairman has already been appointed. The functions of the Council will be to advise the Minister on all questions relating to:

(a) Price Fixing; (b) Quotas; (c) Operation of Care and Maintenance Scheme; (d) Over and under-sales scheme; (e) The best means of effecting correlation of production and demand;

and

to co-operate with the Ministry and the appropriate research bodies on matters affecting the production of bricks,

and

to perform such other functions as the Minister may specify from time to time, and to advise on all and any other questions concerning the brick industry, including transport, labour, fuel and other problems affecting output.

The current national output of bricks will be reduced from time to time (not necessarily at regular intervals) in order to balance supply and demand, and to maintain stocks at a proper level. This reduction will be effected, in part, by the closure of works. An Appeal Tribunal on closure decisions will shortly be set up

The "quota plan." recommended by the Committee is agreed in principle, subject to the review of the allocation of trade at least every three months. The administration of the plan will be in the hands of the Ministry of Works and Planning.

The principle of minimum prices is agreed. Separate minimum "at works" prices will be established for each type of common brick in prescribed areas, and also corresponding maximum prices. The areas will correspond to those for which Area Councils may be established in connection with the National Brick Council, with such sub-division as special circumstances may require. Prices will be fixed by Regulation and will be determined by the Ministry of Works and Planning in accordance with Government policy.

The recommendation as to a scheme in the operation of which undertakings will pay in for over-sales, and draw out for under-sales, is approved, and it is proposed to arrange for the issue of the necessary Regulation.

Photo of Sir Percy Hurd Sir Percy Hurd , Devizes

Will the hon. Gentleman tell us who is the chairman of this new Committee?

Photo of Mr George Hicks Mr George Hicks , Woolwich East

The chairman of the new Committee is Mr. L. W. Farrow.

Photo of Mr William Thorne Mr William Thorne , West Ham Plaistow

Will that Report be available to Members?

Photo of Mr George Mathers Mr George Mathers , Linlithgowshire

May we have it made quite clear that this has no reference whatever to Scotland?

Photo of Mr George Hicks Mr George Hicks , Woolwich East

I can assure my hon. Friend that Scotland is not ignored, that Scotland is being consulted, and that Scotland will be in.

Photo of Mr George Mathers Mr George Mathers , Linlithgowshire

Then there is something wrong with the Minister's use of the title "Works and Planning," which does not apply to his Department in Scotland?

Photo of Mr George Hicks Mr George Hicks , Woolwich East

Brick production is a matter in which my Department is not uninterested in Scotland as well as in England and Wales.

Photo of Mr George Mathers Mr George Mathers , Linlithgowshire

Is the Minister saying that this does apply to Scotland?

Photo of Mr Walter Elliot Mr Walter Elliot , Glasgow Kelvingrove

May we have the hon: Gentleman's assurance that the Secretary of State for Scotland has been consulted in this matter, since these matters have been under active consideration in Scotland on a previous occasion?

Photo of Mr Oliver Locker-Lampson Mr Oliver Locker-Lampson , Birmingham Handsworth

Will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind how important it is to save bricks and use local varieties of flints which were used formerly?