Oral Answers to Questions — Building Industry

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 8th March 1945.

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Photo of Mr Arthur Molson Mr Arthur Molson , High Peak 12:00 am, 8th March 1945

asked the Minister of Labour when he discontinued the calling up for military service of men in the building trades; how many such men were called up during the calendar year 1944; and whether any such men have been called up in 1945.

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

Apart from a small number of cases where men have been required as tradesmen in the Forces, the calling-up of men in craftsmen's occupation in the building industry has been restricted since the end of June, 1943, to fresh registrants who were not granted deferment as apprentices and to young men whose deferment as apprentices came to an end. Since October, 1944, however, apprentices have not been called up when their deferment as apprentices has ended. The number of such men in the building industry called up in 1944 was approximately 8,000 and consisted almost entirely of young men reaching the age of 18. A corresponding figure for the first two months of 1945 is not yet available.

Photo of Mr Arthur Molson Mr Arthur Molson , High Peak

Is the calling-up of men in the building industry still going on?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

Only in certain cases where the Forces need certain tradesmen whom they must have to make up for casualties, and to meet other requirements.

Photo of Hon. Lionel Berry Hon. Lionel Berry , Buckingham

asked the Minister of Labour the number of operatives at present employed in the building industry; the number so employed at the outbreak of war; and how many of these are now serving in the armed forces of the Crown.

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply that I gave on 25th January to a similar question by the hon. Member for East Fulham (Mr. Astor).

Photo of Mr Alfred Bossom Mr Alfred Bossom , Maidstone

asked the Minister of Labour in view of the fact that the great problem in housing is man-power, whether he is taking steps to use women who are available for handling certain sections of the work in the building industry or to use building trade mechanics from amongst Italian collaborators and prisoners of war.

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

The employment of women in the building industry in the present emergency is provided for by an industrial agreement and a certain number are already so employed. In reply to the second part of the Question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Works to the hon. and gallant Member for Epsom (Sir A. Southby) on 28th February.

Photo of Mr Alfred Bossom Mr Alfred Bossom , Maidstone

Can my right hon. Friend say that there is no objection to the use of women in this industry in this great emergency?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

I have never heard of any.

Photo of Major Abraham Lyons Major Abraham Lyons , Leicester East

asked the Minister of Works whether, in view of the considerations of national man-power, productive capacity, finance and export demands for building components over the next 10 years, he will review his proposed expansion of the building industry so as to provide for such expansion as is practicable for the economic efficiency of the industry in the light of these factors.

Photo of Mr George Hicks Mr George Hicks , Woolwich East

I am not aware of any new material factors which would necessitate a reconsideration of the proposed expansion of the building industry. The considerations referred to in the Question were fully taken into account when the size of the post-war building labour force was projected in the Government White Paper on Training for the Building Industry (Command 6428).

Photo of Major Abraham Lyons Major Abraham Lyons , Leicester East

Can the hon. Gentleman say whether it is intended to review this proposed expansion of the building industry a short time from now?