HC Deb 02 November 1937 vol 328 cc694-7
11. Mr. Alexander

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he can give a list of trade associations in the iron and steel industry which fix the prices of the products in which they are interested?

Mr. Stanley

I will, with the right hon. Gentleman's permission, circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT a list of the associations affiliated to the British Iron and Steel Federation which fix the prices of the products they control.

Mr. Alexander

Can the right hon. Gentleman give us an indication of how an appeal may be made in any case where the price may be regarded as arbitrary, or where the steel is not available?

Mr. Stanley

Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will put that question down; but if he has any case in mind I shall be glad to inquire into it, and, if necessary, take it up with the Federation.

Following is the list:

Associations Affiliated to the British Iron and Steel Federation which fix prices.

Heavy Steel Associations:—

Scottish Steel Makers' Association.

Midland and Welsh Steelmakers' Association.

North-East Coast Steelmakers' Association.

British Joist Makers' Association.

High Speed Steel Association.

National Association of Hematite Pig Iron Makers.

National Association for Rolled and Re-Rolled Steel Products.

National Billet Associations:—

Basic Special Steel Billet Association.

Basic Soft Steel Billet Association.

Siemens Martin Acid Steel Billet Association.

Free Cutting Billet Association.

National Forgemasters' Association.

No. 3 and 4 Bar Association.

Rail Makers' Association.

Railway Coil Spring Association.

Railway Tyre and Axle Manufacturers' Association.

Steel Castings Manufacturers' Association.

Sheet Makers' Conference.

Sheffield Stainless Steel Manufacturers' Association.

South Wales Siemens Steel Association.

Sectional Associations of The British Steel Wire Industries Association.

25. Mr. R. Acland

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether any, and, if so, what, steps are being taken to ensure that the prices for steel products with which the Import Duties Advisory Committee has concurred are in fact the highest prices that are being charged to consumers?

Mr. Stanley

The basis prices of the principal controlled products are published. Both the Import Duties Advisory Committee and the British Iron and Steel Federation keep a close watch on the position and investigate complaints of overcharging.

Mr. Alexander

Is the Minister aware that there are differential prices charged to users whether they are members or not of various associations?

Sir Percy Harris

Does the Minister think it desirable that monopolies should be able to take advantage of their position?

Mr. Stanley

The whole rebate position has been fully discussed here, and it is clear that the advantages are open to anyone who chooses to join an association. No obstacles are put in the way of anybody doing so.

Mr. Alexander

Why should any user be compelled to join an association?

26 and 27. Mr. Acland

asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) whether any impartial authority, acting solely in the public interest, has been set up to supervise the policy of the British Iron and Steel Federation in relation to the allocation of output quotas; and if not, when will such an authority be set up;

(2) whether it is the intention of His Majesty's Government to set up some body outside the steel industry responsible only for seeing that the prices fixed for the products of the industry are such as adequately safeguard the public interest; and, if so, when will this body be set up?

Mr. Stanley

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given on 27th July to the hon. Member for King's Norton (Mr. Cartland).

Mr. Acland

Has not a report come out recommending some quite separate body?

Mr. Stanley

I am not aware of any such report.

33. Sir Francis Acland

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether the British Iron and Steel Federation has set up a standing committee called the Rebate Committee, as recommended by the council of the Federation in December, 1935?

Mr. Stanley

Yes, Sir.

Mr. R. Acland

Will there be, on that Committee, any wholly independent persons whose sole function it will be to safeguard the public interests?

Mr. Stanley

If the hon. Member will give me notice of that question, I will supply an answer.