§ 16. Mr. Dempsey
asked the Minister of Public Building and Works if he will give an estimate of the percentage increase in building costs over the next two or three years in the light of increased labour and material prices.
§ Mr. Dempsey
But is my right hon. Friend aware that building interests claim that these elements will increase building costs by nearly 26 per cent. in the next two years? If this is so, ought not something to be done to convince local authorities that they should act much more expeditiously in considering planning applications for new building before funds are eroded?
§ Mr. Silkin
I do not think that I could accept my hon. Friend's figure on costs, though he is quite right to be concerned about them. I know that the industry generally has a very good record of absorbing rising costs. As to the second part of my hon. Friend's supplementary, I think that probably it would more appropriately be addressed to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government.
§ Sir A. V. Harvey
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the increase in building costs of factories and plants this year in many places is something like 12 per cent? How does he expect industry to play its part in our economy when it is faced with increases of this sort—and more to come?
§ Mr. Silkin
Rising costs in the construction industry are always of concern to industry, and, indeed, to my Department, but we are very well aware of the very fine efforts which the building industry generally has made to try to keep its costs down.