My Ministry expects to have five prefabricated houses completed and occupied this summer in the United Kingdom and 101 abroad. Their estimated life is 25 years, but with reasonable maintenance they should last much longer.
In view of our experience of prefabricated houses after the last war, may I ask my right hon. Friend whether he is satisfied that this new experiment will be justified? Is he also satisfied that the introduction of this new type of building will not seriously harm the manufacture of the old traditional building materials, such as bricks and tiles, to which he promised the manufacturers to give high priority and a stable demand?
These prefabricated houses are not an experiment. I have certainly in mind the building of a number of houses for the Services by industrialised methods, but I do not envisage their being used unless the resulting product is at least as durable as the traditional house. I have no reason to suppose that these new methods, which include the rationalisation of traditional building, will upset manufacturers and others concerned in the construction industries.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that the traditional manufacturers are a little concerned that the extra publicity that he is giving to the prefabricated idea may well upset the firm demand for their products? One would expect that there was room for both, but will my right hon. Friend work with the established industry to avoid apprehensions affecting their actual production?
Of course, I will work with them. That is exactly what we are doing. They have no reason for these fears, provided they are prepared to be up to date and to play a part in the introduction of now methods.