HC Deb 30 September 1942 vol 383 cc771-2
54. Mr. Parker

asked the Minister of Production whether, in view of the fact that the basic materials required for the production of Neoprene synthetic rubber are coke and limestone, he will reconsider the possibility of erecting a plant for the production of this material in this country?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Production (Mr. Garro Jones)

My right hon. Friend has asked me to reply. The basic raw materials for the production of Neoprene are available in this country; but the relative effort required for the erection of a plant with a substantial output and the length of time necessary to get it into production are such that its erection in this country would not, having regard to the production already arranged in the U.S.A., be justified.

Mr. Ivor Thomas

Would it not be more advantageous to erect a plant for such rubbers as Buna and Buryl?

Mr. Garro Jones

All these questions have been carefully considered, having regard to other claims upon the plant and material available, and it has been decided that this is one of the cases where manufacture could best be entrusted to the United States.

Mr. James Griffiths

Will my hon. Friend consider the possible developments and production of rubber as a by-product of carbide from the works now functioning in this country?

Mr. Garro Jones

I should not like to say that we have reached finality in our consideration of the subject, and, should any new circumstance arise, the policy will be reconsidered, but at present we are quite satisfied with the arrangement made to produce in the United States.

Sir H. Williams

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the people of the United States are profoundly dissatisfied with the arrangements made for the production of synthetic rubber there?

Mr. Garro Jones

I think there is a good deal of dissatisfaction on all kinds of subjects in both countries. We have to weigh all the considerations.

Mr. Levy

Is my hon. Friend aware that the present method of manufacture of synthetic rubber is most extravagant and that there are many processes by which it could be made in this country far more economically than that to which the hon. Gentleman has referred?

Mr. Speaker

We cannot pursue the subject any further.

55. Mr. Parker

asked the Minister of Production to what extent the discussions with the United States Government leading up to the decision only to erect one type of synthetic rubber plant in this country revealed serious difficulties over patent rights; and to what extent they played a part in that decision?

Mr. Garro Jones

No difficulties regarding patent rights have been encountered in the consideration of this subject.

Mr. Shinwell

Is it not true to say that the patent rights are held by foreigners, including the enemy? Is not that the position?

Mr. Garro Jones

That is another question. I did not say that there were no patent rights. I said that they had not given rise to any difficulty. All the main patent rights are held in the United States, but they have not affected our consideration of the subject at all and have not stood in the way of our decision.