The country is faced by a dilemma probably greater and more poignant than any with which it has hitherto had to deal. It needs, and needs at once, a million new houses, and it has not only utterly inadequate stores of material with which to build them, but has not even the plant by which that material can be rapidly created. There is not merely a shortage, but an actual famine everywhere as regards the things out of which houses are made. Bricks are wanted by the ten thousand million, but there are practically no bricks in sight. All that the brickyards of the United Kingdom can do, working all day and every day, is to turn out something like four thousand million a year. But to those who want houses at once, what is the use of a promise of bricks in five years’ time? To tell them to turn to the stone quarries is a mere derision. Let alone the cost of work and of transport, it is only in a few favoured places that the rocks will give us what we want. Needless to say we are short, too, of lime and cement, and probably shall be shorter. No coal, no quicklime, and No coal, no cement, and as things look now, it is going to be a case, if not of no coal, at any rate of much less coal. Even worse is the shortage in timber—the material hitherto deemed essential for the making of roofs, doors, windows and floors. Raw timber is hardly obtainable, and seasoned timber does not exist. The same story has to be told about tiles, slates, corrugated iron, and every other form of “legitimate” roofing substance. There are none to be had.
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