§ 98. Mr. Peter Thorneycroft
asked the Minister of Works whether he is aware that the system of W.B.A. priority symbols is operating in such a manner that work already begun must remain unfinished and that essential repair work, however urgent, cannot be started; and whether he will take steps to clarify the situation, both as regards builders and builders' merchants.
§ The Minister of Works (Mr. Tomlinson)
Work that is not included in the priority category can draw upon 1357 materials which are surplus to the priority demands. In addition I have made special arrangements both for cases of uncompleted work where undue hardship might otherwise arise, and for certain essential repair work. These arrangements have been announced publicly and have also been notified to builders and merchants by their representatives. I hope that this will overcome most of the difficulties my lion. Friend has in mind.
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that whatever the arrangements may be, materials do not seem to be available for the priority scheme, with the result that urgent work is at present being held up because no materials are available and the people concerned cannot get them without a licence?
§ Mr. Tomlinson
It is not that information has not been made available, but that questions have been raised where the material has not gone to the individual concerned. Generally speaking, Where W.B.A. priority is in operation there has been no difficulty at all and in the special categories, now that the information has been sent round, we are meeting very few complaints.
§ Colonel Clarke
Is the Minister aware that this system is threatening at the present time to produce the deplorable result of a number of unemployed in the building trade?
§ Mr. Tomlinson
That has been hinted at on many occasions, but it has been found that as yet there is no justification for this statement.