Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - House-Building and Skilled Labour.

asked the Minister for Local Government whether, in view of the many official statements that the construction of working-class dwellings is hampered by a shortage of skilled building trade operatives, he will state if he has made any concrete proposals to the trade unions with the object of bringing about an increase in the available number of such workers and also inducing a greater proportion of the skilled operatives in the building trade to take up employment on local authorities' building schemes.

I have made a number of public appeals to the trade unions on this question and I understand that they are considering the matter. The unions have already in some cases urged their members to take up employment on local authorities' housing schemes. I have indicated that there is a clear prospect of continuous work for a long period on housing. I propose to ask the unions' representatives to meet me shortly to discuss the skilled labour supply position and a number of other matters affecting the operatives on housing schemes. Meanwhile, an important step towards diverting a greater proportion of skilled labour to housing schemes has been taken by the removal of the obligation to obtain building licences in the case of local authority and grant houses, while other forms of building activity continue to be controlled.