§ 11 and 12. Colonel Baldwin-Webb
asked the President of the Board of Trade 1771 (1) whether he is aware of the difficulties of Messrs. Fisher and Ludlow, Limited, Birmingham, and others engaged in the motor trade, whose chief raw material consists of steel sheets, in obtaining adequate supplies; that this firm employs 3,000 people, and that as a result of the shortage some departments have been on short time since Whitsuntide and others have been closed altogether for two days during last week; and whether he will endeavour to arrange that the position is remedied;
(2) whether, in view of the continuing difficulty of securing sheets in the iron and steel industry and with a full indication that the large manufacturers can secure the sheets if the quota and duty position is adjusted and so keep essential products in course of manufacture, he will suspend the quota position and duty in a manner which will leave the market with absolute freedom until such date as the Iron and Steel Federation can give supply of the material and quality necessary for our finished products.
I am aware of the difficulties experienced by the firms to which my hon. and gallant Friend refers in obtaining supplies of steel. I am informed that the Import Duties Advisory Committee are actively considering what steps can usefully be taken to increase imports of iron and steel, but I am not at present in a position to make any statement on the matter.
§ Colonel Baldwin-Webb
While thanking my right hon. Friend for his answer, may I ask him when he expects to receive the report of the Committee?
I could not say definitely, but I know that they are well aware of the urgency of the matter.
§ Mr. Thorne
Does it not seem ridiculous that we should be exporting steel and pig iron when there is a shortage in this country?