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Cement Supplies (South-West Area)

Volume 441: debated on Monday 28 July 1947

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asked the Minister of Works when the various concrete product manufacturers in south Devon may expect to receive an adequate and regular supply of cement.


asked the Minister of Works whether, as shortage of cement deliveries is still holding up housing and other urgent building works in the county of Devon, he will take prompt action to increase supplies in that area.


asked the Minister of Works when he expects sufficient cement will be available in the county of Cornwall in order to proceed with urgent work.

The arrangements for the supply of cement in Cornwall and Devon have been recently discussed with the distributors, and I hope that the changes now being made will accelerate progress in housing and other urgent work.

Does the Minister realise that the situation as regards cement in the south-western counties has been very serious for a long time, that the concrete manufacturers have closed down three times this year, and that if they have no proper priority they cannot play their proper part in the building programme?

The fact that some of these factories were closed down was the reason why we took up the matter.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the impression in the south-west is that they are not getting a fair share of what supplies there are of cement? Will he look into it, and, if he finds that that impression is right, take action in the matter?

I have been looking into the supply to the south-west because of the number of inquiries I have had. I am assured the proportion of cement that goes there is correct, and that the industry is distributing it fairly and squarely.

Could inquiry be made into the use of lime for building? It is very satisfactory, indeed. Cement then could be kept more for the harder jobs for which it is more suitable.

I think it is quite likely that if that were done the available supplies of cement would serve a wider purpose.

Will the right hon. Gentleman see that there is now cement available in Cornwall for the purpose of building houses for the people?

I cannot guarantee that the amount of cement which goes to Cornwall or anywhere else is going to be sufficient to meet the housing needs of the particular area.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that Glasgow is getting only a fragmentary portion of cement——

is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there are bitter complaints by housing authorities that their housing is being held up on this account, and that the supply of cement has been for a very long while far worse in Devon and Cornwall than anywhere else?

As to whether it is worse in Devon or Cornwall than anywhere else, it is a little difficult to say. Housing has been held up, it is true, because of shortage of supplies of materials.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say how much cement is being exported, and to where?

I gave the answer to that question I think, a few days ago. The export of cement is, roughly, about 50,000 tons per month, going mainly to our Colonies for purposes being sponsored by the Colonial Department.


asked the Minister of Works if he will consider the importation of cement into Cornwall from Belgium.

Cement may be imported into the United Kingdom under open general licence, and firms requiring cement can avail themselves of this facility.

Will the right hon. Gentleman make these facilities available and much more widely known, and with much less restriction than at present?

I do not know what facilities I have to make available. The open general licence is there if applied for, and I think my reply will give publicity to it for those concerned.


asked the Minister of Works how much cement has been supplied to the Culdrose Aerodrome within the last month.

During the month of June, 101 tons of cement were supplied to Culdrose Aerodrome.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that more cement is being supplied to this aerodrome than is being supplied for the building of 72 council houses in the same area? Is not the building of houses more important, and cannot they have priority over the aerodrome?

I do not know that I am aware of the fact. It is not a matter of according priorities. We try to serve the needs.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in one week 36 tons of cement went to the aerodrome and only 10 tons of cement for the building of these 72 houses?