HC Deb 26 April 1948 vol 450 c22
53. Mr. Scott-Elliot

asked the Minister of Agriculture what is the target value of agricultural machinery to be produced during the current year; and whether this has been reduced as a result of the reduction of the export target.

Mr. T. Williams

The ex-works value of agricultural machinery and spare parts likely to be produced in 1948 is estimated to be of the order of £60 million. The answer to the second part of the Question is, "No, Sir." Production, and thus exports, would have been substantially greater had it been possible to make available sufficient supplies of steel.

Mr. Scott-Elliot

Is my right hon. Friend aware of the very great importance of getting more agricultural machinery into this country and at the same time of exporting more machinery? Is it not, therefore, very disappointing that such a big cut should be made in agricultural machinery?

Mr. Williams

There has not been any big cut. Indeed, there was almost a doubling of the steel allocation for the last quarter of 1947 and the first and second quarters of 1948.

Mr. Scott-Elliot

Surely the right hon. Gentleman will admit that there has been a substantial cut in the export target?

Mr. Williams

My hon. Friend referred to steel, and I repeat that the allocation of steel for agricultural implements was nearly doubled for the last quarter of 1947 compared with the third quarter and was still nearly double for the first and second quarters of this year.

Mr. De la Bére

Why not keep the agricultural machinery here, where it is wanted?