HC Deb 10 November 1943 vol 393 cc1139-40
49. Mr. Neil Maclean

asked the Minister of Production whether butadiene can be made from alcohol or coal; and whether, as this is an essential ingredient of buna rubber, he will cause experiments to be made so that the manufacture of synthetic rubber can be developed?

The Minister of Production (Mr. Lyttelton)

I am informed that butadiene can be made from alcohol or coal and that a good deal of information is available regarding the processes. The importance of synthetic rubber production in this country as a war measure is affected by the fact that supplies are now obtainable from the United States. I have recently however undertaken to make materials and building labour available for a scheme for making synthetic rubber by a company in this country if I can do so without affecting production of higher priority.

Mr. Maclean

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether, in carrying on this production, there is any competition or any attempt to stop it by the rubber producers?

Mr. Lyttelton

No, Sir.

52. Mr. Shinwell

asked the Minister of Production whether he has now completed his inquiry into the matter of producing synthetic rubber in this country; and when will a decision be reached?

Mr. Lyttelton

I have now authorised the issue of the first requirements of materials to the company referred to in the replies given to my hon. Friend on previous occasions. The company is financing the project itself and I have informed them that I will authorise the use of building labour and further materials so far as they are available and not required for work of higher priority.

Mr. Shinwell

Can the right hon. Gentleman say the amount of production with which this industry is to experiment? Is it to be on a large scale or on a small scale?

Mr. Lyttelton

I cannot from memory give the exact production, but it is a commercial production and not an experimental one.

Mr. Shinwell

Do I understand that the right hon. Gentleman is going to encourage it for all he is worth?

Mr. Lyttelton

I must encourage it only to the extent that it does not interfere with work of higher priority.