HC Deb 21 October 1942 vol 383 cc1965-6
48. Mr. Simmonds

asked the Minister of Production what steps he is taking to ensure that the maximum production is obtained from phosphatic deposits in this country, in order to minimise the demands on shipping resources occasioned by the importation of phosphates?

Mr. Lyttelton

The few natural phosphate deposits in this country are of low grade and it has been decided, in consultation with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, that the results from exploiting them would not in present circumstances justify the expenditure in labour and equipment required. Steps have, however, been taken to increase the production of basic slag fertiliser. It is expected that the supplies in the current season will be about 17 per cent. greater than last year and that a further substantial increase will be obtained next year.

Mr. Simmonds

Is my right hon. Friend aware that competent opinion differs from that view? In view of the need of increasing the amount of phosphates for use on the land, as well as of increasing economies in shipping space, will my right hon. Friend personally satisfy himself that some further action is not necessary?

Mr. Lyttelton

I will certainly look into it again.