HC Deb 01 October 1941 vol 374 cc579-80
66 Sir Granville Gibson

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Supply (1) what annual tonnage of shipping space is being employed for the importation from America of calcium carbide used for the production of acetylene gas for oxygen cutting and welding;

(2) what steps have been taken to encourage the use of home-produced substitute gases available; and whether any recommendations by the Ministry have been opposed by carbide and acetylene interests;

(3) in view of the large amount of carbide imports what further steps will be taken to encourage the use of home-produced alternatives; is any factory for the production of calcium carbide for acetylene gas generation contemplated or under construction in this country; and, if so, when will it be in production, and what percentage of our total requirements will it produce?

Mr. Harold Macmillan

The substitute gases available are of limited application. The most important is coal gas and detailed advice has been given twice this year to using industries on its method of application, and they have been urged to use it wherever practicable. This advice is, I am glad to say, widely followed. Other substitute gases are in limited supply. I have no reason to suppose that the use of substitute gases has been limited by opposition from any interests concerned in carbide and acetylene. There is a factory in this country for the production of calcium carbide and another is in course of erection, but it would not be in the public interest to give particulars of home output or of imports.

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