§ 53. Mr. McEntee
asked the Minister of Supply why local authorities are being asked to hand over to metal merchants, free of any charge, railings from their parks and open spaces, and scrap metal, which is then to be bought by the Government from the merchants at an agreed price, which enables the merchants to make a considerable profit; and what protests he has received from local authorities against this practice?
§ Sir A. Duncan
Local authorities are encouraged to dispose of railings through the ordinary channels of trade Any local authority which is satisfied that the merchants are not offering a reasonable price for the railings, having regard to the services rendered by the merchant, may apply direct to the Director of Scrap Supplies of the Iron and Steel Control. The advantages of the scheme are generally recognised by local authorities, and there has been very little complaint.
§ Mr. McEntee
Is it not a fact that the Minister's Department is asking local authorities to give this material free of charge while merchants are charging a price to the Government? In view of the fact that a great number of local authorities have railway sidings of their own, put the metal on the sidings and send it to the merchants, who pick it up, why is not the metal sent by the local authorities on their own sidings to the place where it is to be used, and thus save this middleman's profit?
§ Sir A. Duncan
The matter is not so simple as that. There are great varieties in the content of these railings, and it is quite a technical matter to decide to which places they are to go. There is no objection at all to the local authorities entering into direct contact with the Iron and Steel Control for a direct arrangement for purchase.
§ Mr. Sorensen
Will the Minister take steps to induce local authorities which are not sending in their railings to do so at the earliest possible moment?
The hon. Member was only repeating a previous Supplementary Question. There are about 30 Questions yet to be answered.