HC Deb 03 July 1940 vol 362 cc838-9
54. Mr. Stokes

asked the Minister of Supply whether he is aware that it is estimated that between 2,000 and 3,000 tons of non-ferrous scrap metal are lying idle in London; that the scrap-metal merchants concerned, whose yards are full to overflowing, find it impossible to sell this scrap to his Ministry; and why this scrap is not all immediately bought up for use in the national emergency?

Mr. H. Morrison

I am informed that there is a keen demand for the higher grades of brass scrap, which are passing readily into consumption, but that there has been some increase in stocks of low-grade material. Inquiries are being made of the scrap merchants regarding the quantities and qualities of the scrap in their hands, in order that steps can be taken to see that it passes into use.

Mr. Stokes

Is the Minister not aware that the scrap yards are fuller than they have ever been before—in fact, almost at a standstill? Will he consider whether it is not possible that the present control of non-ferrous metals has something to do with that?

Mr. Morrison

I have examined this matter this morning. My hon. Friend will appreciate that scrap is of varying qualities, and that that has to be considered, but I am getting into touch with the Non-Ferrous Metal Controller on the matter.

Mr. Woodburn

Is my right hon. Friend aware that we insist unduly on Rolls-Royce standards for our material; and might not a consideration of less high standards enable us to make use of this useless scrap?

Mr. Morrison

My hon. Friend will appreciate that that is largely a matter for the appropriate Service Departments, but I have made it known that that is an aspect of the matter which is to be given proper and urgent consideration.

Sir A. Southby

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that all over the country large quantities of scrap, ferrous and non-ferrous, are awaiting collection, and that nothing is being done about it? Could he expedite the collection?

Mr. Morrison

Something is being done about it. I have made arrangements with the proper people to organise it, particularly in the rural areas. I imagine that some of the heaps to which the hon. and gallant Member refers are in course of accumulation, and will be collected in due course. The situation is not entirely satisfactory, but we have made big changes in the right direction.

Sir A. Southby

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the schemes are all right, but that the collection does not occur in the right places?