§ 20. Mr. SITCH
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether iron is being exported from, this country to foreign ports, including those of Japan; if so, for what purpose this iron is being supplied; how long its exportation has been in progress since the Armistice, and the approximate weekly quantities so dealt with; whether he is aware that numbers of our own home workers in the iron industry are out of employment through shortage of supplies; and will he take steps to ensure that their requirements are adequately satisfied, first of all, before any more iron is allowed to leave the country?
§ Sir A. GEDDES
The exportation of pig-iron was in progress before the Armistice, and has continued since, but on a reduced scale. It is supplied for general purposes, including foundry work and steel making. The average weekly export for the seven months ended on the 31st July last was 4,500 tons; about 90 per cent, of the total was to Allied countries for reconstruction purposes, and the remainder consisted mainly of grades for which there is no ready sale in this country. Exportation is allowed only under licence, and the position as regards supplies and requirements here is carefully watched.