HC Deb 20 May 1936 vol 312 c1190
49. Captain RAMSAY

asked the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence whether, in view of the fact that the erection of 10 additional hydrogenation plants similar in capacity to the existing one at Billingham would be sufficient to supply the Navy and Air Force in time of war, he will state about how long they would take to construct and what would be the approximate cost; and will he consider the desirability of their immediate construction?

The MINISTER for the CO-ORDINATION of DEFENCE (Sir Thomas Inskip)

No estimate can be formed as to the time which the erection of 10 additional hydrogenation plants would take. The approximate cost would be £50,000,000. The plant at Billingham is a commercial scale experiment, and until it has been working for a sufficiently long period to enable the economics of the process to be established, the question of the immediate erection of additional plants does not arise.


May I ask whether armaments are the primary consideration?


I do not know what the hon. Member means. The expense of the establishment must be a factor to be considered when you are contemplating the erection of further plant.


The right hon. Gentleman is concerned at the moment with considerable extensions which may be useless unless he has supplies of orders. Therefore it seems to me that economics should be the first consideration.