HC Deb 17 November 1947 vol 444 cc794-5
28. Mr. Manningham-Buller

asked the Minister of Supply whether he has sanctioned the importations from America of bearings for agricultural tractors; and what is the total cost involved.

The Minister of Supply (Mr. G. R. Strauss)

Yes, Sir. Between 1st January and 30th September, 1947, the Board of Trade have on the recommendation of my Department sanctioned the importation from America of about £150,000 worth of bearings for agricultural tractors. In addition, bulk imports of bearings for tractors and other motor vehicles to the value of £175,000 have been sanctioned, but it is not possible to say what proportion is for agricultural tractors.

Mr. Manningham-Buller

Is it not ten times as expensive to import these finished bearings than to import the steel from which they can be made in this country?

Mr. Strauss

Maybe, but the capacity of bearing manufacturers in this country is not sufficient to make all the bearings we require.

29. Mr. Manningham-Buller

asked the Minister of Supply whether he can give an assurance that the steel required for the manufacture of agricultural tractors will be made available to the manufacturers.

Mr. G. R. Strauss

I cannot guarantee that all difficulties will disappear, especially in certain types of steel. But every effort is being made to ensure that deliveries match the allocations given to the industry.

Mr. Manningham-Buller

When the right hon. Gentleman says that the capacity is not sufficient, is it not the case that the allocation of steel has been cut by one-tenth, or some such figure, and that if his Department will support the applications for increasing the size of the factories, the capacity could be rapidly increased?

Mr. Strauss

No, Sir, the allocation of steel for agricultural implements has increased substantially quarter by quarter.