HC Deb 25 November 1946 vol 430 cc1258-9
56. Lord Willoughby de Eresby

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware of the shortage of tractor wheels and tyres, sizes 6 by 19 and 11.25 by 28 and that many farm tractors are lying idle at the moment awaiting the delivery of wheels and tyres of these sizes; and what steps he is taking to remedy this shortage.

Mr. T. Williams

I am aware that the supply of wheels and tyres of the sizes mentioned is at present insufficient to meet the demands for the conversion of steel wheels on tractors to rubber-tyred wheels. Manufacturers are increasing their output so far as possible, and I am not aware of any tractors lying idle for the lack of such equipment.

Lord Willoughby de Eresby

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the carting of sugar beet is seriously held up in South Lincolnshire?

Mr. Snadden

Will the Minister do what he can to expedite the delivery of tracks, for caterpillar tractors? A number of tractors are laid up in my part of the country.

Mr. Williams

I can assure both hon. Members that we are doing our best with the home manufacturers to secure the number of types of agricultural machinery which are required.

61. Mr. Turton

asked the Minister of Agriculture what steps are being taken to improve the supply of spare parts for agricultural implements and machinery.

Mr. T. Williams

Manufacturers in this country are constantly impressed with the need for giving priority to requirements for spare parts for home-produced machines. As regards spares for imported machines, all possible steps have been taken to expedite supplies from overseas, and exchange has been made available to meet to the full the estimated requirements of the importers. In addition, the importers are arranging for production in this country whenever practicable.

Mr. Turton

Is the Minister aware that the position of spare parts is worse than during the war? Will he make representations to his colleague at the Board of Trade to stop spares being exported until the needs of the home market have been met?

Mr. Williams

All that home manufacturers can do to meet the needs of the farmers is being done at the moment.

Commander Maitland

Is the Minister aware that Report No. 13 of the recent German Agricultural Engineering Industry indicates a German firm which has 1,000 tons of spare parts of British and American types available, only 26 per cent. of which are required at the moment in the British zone? Will he look into that matter?

Mr. Williams

If there are supplies in Germany, in the West, North, East or South, we shall be glad to have them.

Mr. Walkden

Is it not true that, in the main, the industry produces what it likes? It demanded freedom from controls and got it. How is the Minister supposed to issue directions when he has no powers to do so?