HC Deb 01 June 1937 vol 324 cc840-1
24. Sir Cooper Rawson

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the fact that the imports of crushed macadam and chippings from Norway and Belgium have increased from 875 tons in January to 9,333 tons in February, some further effort will now be made to induce local authorities to use British materials, of which there are large supplies lying idle?

Mr. Stanley

The Ministry of Transport have urged upon local authorities the desirability of using British materials to the maximum possible extent for road-making, and one of the conditions of a grant from the Road Fund is that all materials should, so far as practicable, be of United Kingdom origin. Imports of foreign macadam are small compared with home production.

Mr. Rathbone

Is my right hon. Friend aware that from the figures the imports for February of this year were higher than those for any month of last year; and in view of the great supplies available at reasonable prices in Cornwall and elsewhere, will he give the matter his very serious consideration?

Mr. Stanley

It is quite true that the imports for February were high, but, even so, they only stand at something like 9,000 tons compared with the average of home production of 750,000 tons.

Mr. Herbert Morrison

If any steps are taken to restrict foreign imports, can the Minister give an undertaking that the Government will see to it that British producers will not make price rings against the interests of the local authorities?

Mr. Stanley

That question is doubly hypothetical.

Sir C. Rawson

Is my right hon. Friend aware that certain local authorities or surveyors have actually specified for the supply of Norwegian materials as against British?

Mr. Stanley

If my hon. Friend has any information of that kind, I shall be glad if he will bring it to my attention.