HC Deb 09 February 1944 vol 396 c1765
49. Sir H. Williams

asked the Minister of Supply whether the reduction of imports of copper from Rhodesia has been accompanied by an equal reduction of imports from other sources of supply.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Supply (Mr. Peat)

The proposed reduction of Northern Rhodesian copper production will not begin to take effect until April, and will not enter fully into effect until June. It will not materially affect imports into the United Kingdom until some months thereafter. The question of the adjustment of production in and importation from other sources of supply is being taken up through the appropriate Combined Board machinery.

Sir H. Williams

Has a reduction of imports from a part of the British Empire been made sooner than a reduction from foreign countries?

Mr. Peat

Negotiations for reduction in respect of parts of the British Empire have been started before the negotiations with other countries.

Sir H. Williams

Do I understand, therefore, that preference is being given to foreigners over Empire countries?

Mr. Graham White

Have costs of production entered into account in this reduction? Was not Rhodesia one of the cheapest?

Mr. Peat

There is very little difference in the cost of production. In fact, Rhodesia is not the cheapest.