HC Deb 15 March 1938 vol 333 cc181-2
5. Mr. James Griffiths

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the number of mills in operation in the tinplate and sheet industries has declined from 508 in October, 1937, to 380 in February, 1938, and that the present demand represents only 50 per cent. of the productive capacity of these industries; and what steps the Government are taking to stimulate home demand and to expand the export trade in view of the apprehension that is felt at the position that will be created when new plants now nearing completion begin to operate?

Mr. Stanley

I am aware of the decline in the number of mills in operation in the tinplate and the steel sheet industries. The hon. Member will be aware that both these industries are suffering from a slackening of the demand in export markets. His Majesty's Government are doing everything possible, by the negotiation of trade agreements and otherwise, to promote a general increase of export trade.

Mr. Griffiths

Will the right hon. Gentleman have some consultation on this matter in view of the apprehension which is felt as to the position when these new plants will come into operation?

Mr. Stanley

I know that the hon. Member is interested in this subject and I shall be glad to have a talk with him at any time.

Mr. Thorne

Is the decline in the tin-plate trade due to the high tariffs in other countries?

Mr. Stanley

That is another point.