HC Deb 22 May 1947 vol 437 cc2507-8
19 Mr. John Lewis

asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) on how many occasions the Inter-Departmental Committee on the Production of Carbon Black has met since it was set up; and who has been appointed as chairman of that committee since the resignation of Sir Charles Bruce Gardner;

(2) when the Interim Report on the production of carbon black referred to in a letter by the Parliamentary Secretary to the hon. Member for Bolton, on 23rd January, 1947, will be available;

(3) if he will make a full statement on the discussions which have taken place between the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company and his Department regarding the erection of plant in Persia for the manufacture of carbon black suitable for tyre production.

The President of the Board of Trade (Sir Stafford Cripps)

The Inter-Departmental Committee on Carbon Black has held 17 formal meetings. Sir Charles Bruce-Gardner has kindly consented to continue as ohairman. The committee has presented an interim report which shows that it has assembled much valuable information, that a great deal of exploratory work has been done and that plans for the production of carbon black in this country are being explored. I have received confidential information from the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company which I am not at liberty to disclose.

Mr. Lewis

In view of the fact that this committee was set up as long ago as April, 1946, for the purpose of developing other sources of supply of carbon black, both at home and in the sterling area, will my right hon. and learned Friend justify its existence? Will he also say how it is that he pays lip service to the necessity for conserving our dollar resources, when we spent last year 5,250,000 of our precious dollars on this commodity in the U.S.A., while at the same time millions of cubic feet of natural gas are being blown into the air every day in the Middle East which could be burned to produce the carbon black we require?

Sir S. Cripps

It is not necessary for me to justify the proceedings of this committee, which has done a very useful service in inquiring into what is a very complicated matter.

Mr. Lewis

Does my right hon. and learned Friend think that that is good enough? Would he say why we are spending our reserve of valuable dollars on the purchase of carbon black, when it is not necessary to do so?

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

Mr. Walker-Smith.

Mr. Lewis

On a point of Order. I propose to raise this matter further on the Adjournment.

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