HC Deb 27 November 1946 vol 430 cc1612-4
58. Brigadier Maclean

asked the Minister of Food how much linseed oil, or oil equivalent, was imported into this country during the 12 months ended 31st October last; and how it was allocated as between different industries.

Dr. Summerskill

The oil equivalent of the linseed, together with the oil imported as such, during the 12 months ended 2nd November, 1946, was 98,757 tons. As the information about allocations involves a long table of figures, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Brigadier Maclean

Is the hon. Lady aware that the small allocation to the linoleum industry is causing serious unemployment?

Dr. Summerskill

I realise the difficulties of the linoleum industry but, unfortunately, we have not the linseed.

Mr. R. S. Hudson

As the hon. Lady is going to circulate the figures, will she include last year's figures for comparison?

Dr. Summerskill

Yes, Sir.

Following is the information:

Allocations of linseed oil during the12months ended 2nd November,1946

87,079 tons of linseed oil were distributed from Ministry of Food supplies during the 12 months ended 22nd November, 1946. The allocations were as follows:—

Paint, varnish, putty, white lead 55,401
Linoleum 11,323
Core compound 3,321
Leathercloth, oilskins, tarpaulins, proofed cloth 3,009
Railways 2,668
Printing ink 2,281
Other uses, including adhesives, artists' colours, belting leather dressing, brake linings, builders' merchants, chemists, concrete hardeners, disinfectants, dockyards, engineering uses, hard board, oiled paper, pottery, rubber substitutes, sealing compounds, soft soap, ships' stores, sulphonation, textiles, veterinary purposes, wall covering 9,076

66. Mr. Hubbard

asked the Minister of Food if, in view of the unemployment in the linoleum industry, and the need for linoleum for new houses, he will allocate an increased tonnage of linseed oil for industrial purposes.

Dr. Summerskill

I regret that our stocks will not permit an increase in the overall rate of usage of linseed oil at present.

Mr. Hubbard

Is my hon. Friend aware that the very low tonnage of linseed oil made available in this country, as compared with the United States, is responsible for the reduction in the manufacture of linoleum, and that, apart from the domestic side, that has an effect on the import market, and it is impossible to cm-ploy many thousands of workers?

Dr. Summerskill

I recognise all those things. But, unfortunately, India has prohibited the export of linseed, and it has been difficult to acquire any in the Argentine.

Mr. R. S. Hudson

What about the Argentine?

Dr. Summerskill

I said it is very difficult to get any from the Argentine.

Mr. Hudson

Will the hon. Lady remind the Minister that if he had employed private individuals to get it, they would have got it?

Dr. Summerskill

I would like to inform the right hon. Gentleman that we have the best business men in the country in the Argentine, and they are not civil servants.

Colonel Ponsonby

Is it true that the allocation to the industry is only 20 per cent, of the prewar supply?

Dr. Summerskill

That may be true, but the allocation is decided by a committee.

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