Will the hon. Gentleman realise the extent of public concern about this? This is the season when most building should be done, and bricks piling up in stockpiles cannot build the houses which are so badly needed.
Yes, Sir. My right hon. Friend is very conscious of the difficulties which this creates for the brickmakers and for everybody else. We are doing our best to try to find some solution to the problem.
Will the hon. Gentleman draw this table to the attention of his right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government and ask him whether one or other Minister could provide the public with an explanation of how to translate the promised planning into houses? It is very difficult for Members, and still more for the public, to appreciate what is happening.
The table does not show anything very different from what happened in the past. For example, under Conservative Administrations in 1957, 1958, 1962 and 1963, there were considerable surpluses, and, worse, in the spring and summer of 1953, 1960 and 1964, there were serious shortages.
Following is the table:
|QUARTERLY LEVELS OF BRICK STOCKS IN GREAT BRITAIN 1945–1966|
|Year||At end of first Quarter||At end of second Quarter||At end of third Quarter||At end of fourth Quarter|
The National Federation of Clay Industries raised this question with my right hon. Friend in 1965. He told them that no special credit facilities could be granted, and this is still the case.
Does not the hon. Gentleman appreciate that throughout 1965 brickmakers' profits fell and that their bank overdrafts increased? How does he think they will get through this latest credit squeeze without having to cut back on production?