HC Deb 20 November 1947 vol 444 cc1309-10
8. Colonel Ponsonby

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that in spite of the increased demand on glass manufacturers for supplies of glass and glassware, especially bottles and jars, required by other industries for essential home requirements and in achieving their export targets, the glass industry's requirements for soda ash are still unsatisfied; and what steps are being taken to increase supplies of soda ash to enable new machines imported chiefly from the U.S.A. to be brought into operation.

Mr. H. Wilson

I am aware that, although the allocation of soda ash for the manufacture of glass containers and general glass ware was raised last June, it is insufficient to meet in full the increasing requirements of the industry. The distribution of soda ash supplies is at present under review in the light of the expanding needs of the various consuming industries and of export. I regret, however, that there is no prospect of any appreciable increase in the total home production of soda ash until new capacity, planned to be ready in 1949, comes into operation.

Colonel Ponsonby

Will the Minister give an assurance that there will be no diversion of soda ash for export until the needs of the home producers are fully satisfied?

Mr. Wilson

No, Sir. I am sorry I cannot give that assurance, because soda ash is one of the most valuable goods in bilateral negotiations with certain of the countries with whom we are now in negotiation.

Mr. Stokes

Has my right hon. Friend considered getting an extra supply of soda ash from Germany?

Mr. Wilson

I should like notice of that question.