On Second Reading, I said that this Bill was like taking a steam hammer to crack a nut, and produced figures to show that 4 per cent. of the building industry was employed in building offices. The hon. Member for Willesden, East (Mr. Freeson)—whom I am glad now to see in his place—claimed that 25 per cent. of the building labour force operating in Greater London now and during the past few years has been employed on speculative office building. have made the most extensive inquiries but cannot find any official statistics at all.
When we raised this question in Committee, the Minister of State promised to produce some figures as soon as he could to substantiate that claim. I hope that we may have it substantiated soon, because we feel that there has been a great deal of exaggeration connected with the bringing in of this Measure. That became further obvious during the debate on the Milner Holland Report on 22nd March last, when the hon. Member for Bermondsey (Mr. Mellish)—the Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government—put forward some remarkable figures.
The hon. Gentleman said:
We further discovered that office building in London alone in 1964 represented 23 per cent. of the whole of the office building in the whole of Britain and that over 10 per cent. of the total building labour force in Britain was employed in the London region building offices in that area."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd March, 1965; Vol. 709, c. 175.]
If those figures are correct, it means that 110,000 men were building offices in Great Britain, and I challenge the Government to say where they stood—never mind what they have built.
I am glad to have this opportunity to correct two misleading statements which were made in the course of the introduction of the Bill.