Building Labour Force (Use)

Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Works – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th April 1950.

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Photo of Mrs Lucy Middleton Mrs Lucy Middleton , Plymouth, Sutton 12:00 am, 24th April 1950

asked the Minister of Works what percentages of the available building and civil engineering labour force in each of the cities of Bristol, Coventry, Hull, Liverpool, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Southampton and Swansea are engaged on housebuilding, central reconstruction and repair and maintenance of existing premises, respectively.

Photo of Mr Richard Stokes Mr Richard Stokes , Ipswich

With my hon. Friend's permission I will, since it contains a large number of figures, circulate the answer in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Photo of Mrs Lucy Middleton Mrs Lucy Middleton , Plymouth, Sutton

Can my right hon. Friend give to the House an indication of the trend in respect of the use of building labour?

Photo of Mr Richard Stokes Mr Richard Stokes , Ipswich

There has been a general reduction in repair and maintenance work in the country generally. The numbers engaged on housing have, if not appreciably, actually gone up.

Photo of Mrs Bessie Braddock Mrs Bessie Braddock , Liverpool Exchange

Is my right hon. Friend aware that figures which he gave me only last week showed that only 50 per cent. of our labour power was being used on new houses or on repairs? Does he consider that 50 per cent. is too high a figure?

Photo of Mr Richard Stokes Mr Richard Stokes , Ipswich

If my hon. Friend will look at the figures I think she will see that the answer I have given is absolutely correct. Records show that the number employed on new houses is higher than before.

Following is the statement:

The percentages of the available building and civil engineering labour force engaged on housebuilding, central reconstruction, and repair and maintenance of existing premises in the cities named in the Question were estimated to be as follows at the end of February, 1950:

New HousingCentral Recon-struction (Blitzed Cities)Repair and main-tenance of existing premises
Bristol27Nil45
Coventry240·442
Hull110·465
Liverpool20Nil58
Portsmouth162·466
Plymouth351·843
Southampton241·556
Swansea23Nil50

Photo of Mr Charles Gibson Mr Charles Gibson , Wandsworth Clapham

asked the Minister of Works what are the present proportions of the total building and civil engineering labour employed on construction of houses, B repairs and maintenance of houses, and on projects other than housing, respectively; and if he will give the comparative figures for February. 1949.

Photo of Mr Richard Stokes Mr Richard Stokes , Ipswich

The present proportions of building and civil engineering labour employed on the construction of houses, repairs and maintenance of houses, and on projects other than housing are estimated to be respectively 24.2 per cent., 27.9 per cent. and 47.9 per cent. The comparative figures for February, 1949, are 23.6 per cent. 31.6 per cent. and 44.8 per cent.

Photo of Sir Barnett Stross Sir Barnett Stross , Stoke-on-Trent Central

asked the Minister of Works what number of skilled and unskilled building workers are engaged in Stoke-on-Trent on the maintenance, repair, and extension of pottery factories; and what number are employed on the building of houses.

Photo of Mr Richard Stokes Mr Richard Stokes , Ipswich

The number of building workers employed in Stoke-on-Trent on the maintenance, repair and extension of pottery factories is estimated to be 709, and 732 building workers are engaged on the building of houses. Figures for skilled and unskilled workers are not separately available.

Photo of Sir Barnett Stross Sir Barnett Stross , Stoke-on-Trent Central

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the figure he has given for workers engaged on the building of houses is appreciably smaller than for 1947? Would he consider what remedy is available for local authorities who find the labour is drifting away to more lucrative forms of work?

Photo of Mr Richard Stokes Mr Richard Stokes , Ipswich

I was not aware of it, but now that my hon. Friend says that it is so I will look into it.