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Building Trades (Operatives' Output)

Volume 437: debated on Monday 5 May 1947

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1 and 5.

asked the Minister of Works (1) what is his estimate of the percentage of output of building trades operatives as compared with 1938;

(2) the average number of bricks laid at the present time and the average number laid in prewar years.

I regret that no reliable figures are available on which a comparison could be made.

Surely, the Minister is aware of the prewar formula of one house per person per year. How does that compare with the results so far achieved?

The accuracy of the prewar formula is something that has to be decided to start with, as I have no reliable information on what it was based.

How can the Minister reconcile his statement with that made by the men's leaders when the wage increase was granted in January, 1946, pledging themselves to increase output to what it was prewar?

That is not the Question I was asked. I was asked to say definitely what has been the percentage of increase. I cannot do that without the necessary information.

Will not the Minister agree that, on such figures as there are, the output at present is far lower than it was in 1938; and will he not further agree that this is primarily due to the Government's policy having got the building industry and the building materials industry out of date?

I do not accept that. First, there has been a great deal of talk about the decrease in what has been done, bet none of that has been proved. Secondly, conditions are different today from what they were before the war.

Will the Minister consult his noble Friend Lord Quibell on this matter?