asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if, in view of the continued unemployment in the quarrying, brickmaking, woodworking and allied industries, he will consider what further steps can be taken to ensure the use of British materials in State-aided housing schemes in Scotland?
In my reply to a question on this subject by the hon. Member on 3rd June last, I detailed the steps taken to foster the use of goods and materials of home production on State-aided housing schemes. I am not aware that foreign stone or brick is being used on State-aided housing schemes by Scottish local authorities. Where the Department of Health find that foreign material is being specified in connection with such schemes their practice is to advise the local authority concerned to obtain alternative offers for British material where it is available of equal quality.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the quantity of material used represents employment for many men, and does he not think that the changing circumstances in the trade call for an alteration in the law?
The question of legislation does not arise. The Government have done everything that it is possible to do by circulars, and other advisory steps, to induce all local authorities in Scotland to use articles of British manufacture.
Does not "doing everything they can" by this Government mean doing nothing at all?
Is it not the case that what prevents the using of more British materials is largely the building trade rings which keep up prices?
That is another question.