Building Operatives (Output)

Oral Answers to Questions — Public Building and Works – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3rd December 1968.

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Photo of Mr Fred Silvester Mr Fred Silvester , Walthamstow West 12:00 am, 3rd December 1968

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works what estimate he has made of the increase in output of building operatives employed by contractors in Great Britain in 1968.

Photo of Mr Robert Mellish Mr Robert Mellish , Bermondsey

I have not yet estimated the increase in output per operative in 1968, but I think it likely that it will be higher than the long-term trend of 4 per cent. for the second year running.

Photo of Mr Fred Silvester Mr Fred Silvester , Walthamstow West

Would the Minister say, therefore, why he felt that it was necessary for his right hon. Friends to obstruct an interim increase of 3·7 per cent. which is less than his estimate for the building trade operatives' increase in October?

Photo of Mr Robert Mellish Mr Robert Mellish , Bermondsey

I suggest that the hon. Member reads the P.I.B. Report. If he does he will get some information there. Some of the increase each year is the result of better management, more mechanisation, bigger contracts, better tendering procedures, and so on. It is not necessarily a measure of an increase in the productivity of labour.

Photo of Mr Eric Heffer Mr Eric Heffer , Liverpool, Walton

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that the estimate of his Department seems to be different from the estimate of the P.I.B.? Will he indicate why there is a difference between the two estimates of output and productivity in the building industry?

Photo of Mr Robert Mellish Mr Robert Mellish , Bermondsey

The figures that I have given up to last year have been published year by year since 1945. The output of the building and construction industries has risen every year. This year it will rise by another 4 per cent., I think, and I expect it to rise next year by between 4 per cent. and 5 per cent. This happens to be the view that the Department holds, and we have said so to the P.I.B.