HC Deb 09 December 1920 vol 135 cc2429-30
105. Captain BOWYER

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that in many parts of the country constructional work is being seriously held up owing to a shortage of cement; that this state of affairs has been in existence for several months; that the result is a diminution of the number of men employed on constructional work, with increased unemployment and cost of work; and that the exports of cement from the United Kingdom for the past few months have been very great and the imports very small; and whether, in view of the fact that the export of coal is controlled on the grounds of protection for domestic industries, he will consider the possibility of applying to cement the same export regulations as exist in the case of coal?


My right hon. Friend is aware of the shortage to which my hon. and gallant Friend refers. As regards the latter part of the question, pre-war imports were small in relation to output, and it is not to be expected that they would be large now, seeing that other countries are also suffering from the shortage. The question of exports was dealt with in the answer given by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade on the 2nd December to the hon. Member for West Middlesbrough, a copy if which I am sending to my hon. and gallant Friend.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that that reply merely deferred for the third time any final consideration of the matter, and how soon can the Board of Trade give a definite reply?


I am aware of that. I cannot say how soon a definite reply can be given.