HC Deb 17 May 1965 vol 712 cc980-2
5. Mr. William Hamilton

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works to what extent the shortages in the supply of building materials have been overcome.

7. Mr. Bence

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works what progress he is making in overcoming the shortages of building materials.

Mr. Boyden

As I told the House on 15th March, I expect the difficulties over the supply of building materials to diminish during the course of the year as additional capacity becomes available.

Mr. Hamilton

Can my hon. Friend give an assurance that the house-building programme will not be upset by the current shortages of building materials? Can he give an indication of what representations he is getting from local authorities on this point? Are they, on the whole, satisfied with the current position?

Mr. Boyden

I cannot be a prophet, but the difficulties are mainly local. At present, over the country as a whole, the situation is reasonably satisfactory.

Mr. Bence

In view of the fact that in Scotland we still have surplus labour and surplus manufacturing conditions, would my right hon. Friend consult the Scottish Office to see to what extent more of this industry can be introduced into Scotland, thereby helping Scotland to make a greater contribution to the supply of house-building materials?

Mr. Boyden

We are in touch; in fact, Scotland has a surplus of bricks.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Has not one of the factors which has eased the Minister's problem been the falling off in house building because of the shortage of mortgages and high interest rates?

Mr. Boyden

No, Sir. In fact, the number of starts which the builders are contemplating is at least as good as last year's.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Is not the Minister aware that the building of houses is being held up in Ayrshire and all over Scotland due to the lack of supply of plaster board and that contractors are writing to their Members urging——

Mr. Speaker

Order. There is a specific question about plaster board, unless I am deceived, further along.

Mr. Hughes

On a point of order. Surely plaster board is a building material?

Mr. Speaker

Yes, but we shall not get it answered without anticipating a Question further down. That is the point. That makes the difficulty.

The following Question also stood upon the Paper:


To ask the Minister of Public Building and Works if he will make a statement about the shortage of plaster board for the building industry.

Mr. Speaker

Mr. Iremonger. It seems that he is not here.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

On a point of order. Would you give a Ruling, Mr. Speaker, as to what the position is now about my question on plaster board?

Mr. Speaker

I have called the next Question and I am now going to call another one.