HC Deb 29 January 1948 vol 446 cc1190-1
66. Mr. Marples

asked the President of the Board of Trade at what price per ton his Department sold their stocks of Tung Oil to paint manufacturers in December; at what price it was available on the free market; and for how long he proposes to use compulsion to insist that the paint trade must buy Government stocks at higher prices than ruling market prices.

Mr. H. Wilson

Tung Oil was sold by the Board of Trade during December at L250 a ton ex store. The free market price was approximately £200 per ton cost and freight. The intention is to continue to charge £250 a ton for Government stocks until these are liquidated.

Mr. Marples

Does the right hon. Gentleman consider it just and equitable that manufacturers should be forced to pay to the Government prices higher than the ruling market prices because of their bad buying, and how is it possible for them to compete in the export drive if they are forced to pay higher than the ruling world prices for their raw material?

Mr. Wilson

There is no question of bad buying in this case. At a time of acute shortage manufacturers pressed the Government to make these purchases. The purchases were made by the Government at the world ruling price, which any private buyer would have had to pay, and it does not seem right that in working the stocks off the ratepayer should be subsidising manufacturers.