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Building Materials

Volume 161: debated on Wednesday 14 March 1923

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asked the Minister of Health if he is aware of the operation of rings and trusts in connection with the building-material industry, which inflate the cost of building; if he is aware that cement, tiles, bricks, timber, and other material are up in price, ranging from 100 per cent. to 250 per cent. above pre-War price; that builders' labourers' rates of pay have been reduced by 10d. per hour, and that bricklayers and other craftsmen in the building trade have had their rates of pay reduced by 8d. per hour; and if he will take action in the matter?

In answer to the first and last parts of the hon. Member's question I may refer to the reply given to the hon. and gallant Member for the Oxford (Henley) Division (Captain Terrell) on the 7th instant. The average percentage increase on pre-War prices in recorded market prices of the various materials required for the erection of a workman's house in the London district is at present from 65 to 70. I am aware that in some districts the wages of craftsmen and labourers have, since May, 1921, been reduced by 8d. and 10d. per hour respectively. The increase in rates of wages above pre-War rates has varied in different localities. In London the percentage increases in the rates for skilled and unskilled labour are at present 73·9 per cent. and 87·5 per cent. respectively.

asked the Minister of Health if any estimate has been made of the whole possible output in Great Britain of the materials required in the erection of houses under the housing schemes; and, if so, what it is in respect of each of the materials required?

Type of House.Description and Quantities of Material
Floor Area in super feet.Sand.Lime.Cement.Bricks.Slates.Timber.Lead.