HC Deb 15 May 1947 vol 437 cc1695-6
39. Mr. Chetwynd

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that a large number of building materials, including timber and lead, are being offered for disposal by the North Eastern Trading Estates, Limited, as surplus stores from the Aycliffe Trading Estate; and why these materials cannot be used in the construction of other factories in the North-East development area.

Sir S. Cripps

A number of building and engineering stores including hardwood and heavy sheet lead, were left at Aycliffe when this royal ordnance factory was handed over by the Ministry of Supply for conversion to an industrial estate. Those items which were needed to meet the immediate requirements of North-Eastern Trading Estates, Limited, for their factory building programme have been taken into use, and the estate company will continue to draw such stores as they need them from this mixed stock. To prevent items lying idle for an unnecessarily long period, it was arranged last year for the stores not required by the estate company to be offered for disposal, in order that pressing requirements in other directions might be met.

Mr. Chetwynd

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman quite satisfied that this lead and timber, and all these other building materials, cannot be used at the moment, and that factories in the North-East are not being held up by lack of these very essential commodities? What steps will be taken to prevent these materials going to the black market?

Sir S. Cripps

These materials that have not been taken up by the trading company are materials they do not require, and they will be disposed of in the ordinary way through the disposal machinery of the Ministry of Supply or the Ministry of Works, according to the material.

Mr. Wilkes

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that the point of the matter is, that whilst these materials may be immediately surplus to the Aycliffe Trading Estate, they are not surplus to the over-all factory programme of the North-East coast, and that if they are denied to contractors they will be devoted to projects which, whilst being licensed projects, are certainly not of anything like the priority of the factory programme, and that, consequently, we shall have diversion of the materials?

Sir S. Cripps

I am quite satisfied that the North-Eastern Trading Estates, Limited, know what they want, and that they have had all they want.