Building Labour Force

Oral Answers to Questions — Housing – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 17th June 1952.

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Photo of Mr Ernest Davies Mr Ernest Davies , Enfield East 12:00 am, 17th June 1952

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what steps he is taking to ensure that an adequate labour force is available for the building of houses in those areas where they are most urgently required.

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Bromley

Employment exchanges do all they can to persuade building workers to take housing work where they are most urgently needed. Local authorities are encouraged, particularly in areas where building labour is inadequate for local needs, to use non-traditional methods of house-building, which require a minimum of labour, especially skilled labour, on the site. I am sending the hon. Member a copy of a circular on this subject that I addressed to all local authorities last March.

Photo of Mr Ernest Davies Mr Ernest Davies , Enfield East

But is the right hon. Gentleman aware that where there is demand in contiguous areas there is some danger of bargaining—of enticing and attracting workers by his financial arrangements? Does he not in some instances make provision for travel? Has it not the effect, in the case of non-traditional contractors, of abstracting men who could be more usefully employed building houses, instead of travelling, say, two or three hours in a bus to their work?

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Bromley

There is always some danger in rivalry, but there is still greater danger in stagnation.

Photo of Mr Ellis Smith Mr Ellis Smith , Stoke-on-Trent South

How does the right hon. Gentleman reconcile his original answer with what is taking place in the City of Stoke-on-Trent, where houses are required not only for normal needs but also for thousands of miners who are being transferred from other parts of the country to a Development Area? In view of the most urgent need for attention to be given to the problem there, will the right hon. Gentleman undertake to give his personal attention to this special case?

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Bromley

Yes, Sir, if the hon. Gentleman will put down a Question about Stoke-on-Trent I shall endeavour to add to the information which he has just given to the House.

Photo of Mr Ellis Smith Mr Ellis Smith , Stoke-on-Trent South

But is not the Minister aware that he knows that this Question relates to Stoke-on-Trent?

Photo of Mr Ernest Davies Mr Ernest Davies , Enfield East

Is the Minister not aware that his Department has already been supplied with the facts before this Question was put down?