asked the Minister of Public Building and Works what steps he is taking to ensure that sufficient work is designed by his Department and other Government Departments in natural stone to maintain the skills and competition in the stone masonry industry.
My Department specifies the use of natural stone for public buildings for which it is considered suitable. We have recently asked other Government Departments, and certain non-Governmental bodies, to consider following this practice.
Has the Minister's attention been drawn to the unemployment figures for the building industry, which show a 71·5 per cent. increase between November, 1965, and November, 1966, a 185 per cent. increase in the masonry industry, and a 191 per cent. increase among bricklayers? What is his Department doing about getting on with progress?
A good deal of that question is irrelevant to the original one. So far as there is unemployment in the stone industry, I said in my reply that we have been using natural stone in some recent buildings, including the Star Chamber Court scheme, to which reference has already been made. We have asked other Departments to consider doing the same. There are problems of cost and suitability involved, and we cannot give an absolute guarantee to find full capacity for the stone industry.