HC Deb 08 March 1948 vol 448 cc778-9
24. Mr. Parkin

asked the Minister of Supply whether he will make a further statement as to the progress made in examining the measures necessary to secure an increase in scrap supplies for the iron and steel industry.

Mr. G. R. Strauss

Yes, Sir. The general scrap position has improved slightly in recent weeks, but the longer term outlook remains serious. Accordingly I have decided to appoint a committee of three members, drawn from outside both Government Departments and the steel industry, to consider and report on what special measures can be taken to secure increased supplies. I have been fortunate in securing the services as Chairman of the committee of Sir Graham Cunningham, who was Controller-General of Munitions Production in the Ministry of Supply during the war; the other two members will be Lieut.-General Sir Kenneth Loch and Dr. Slade. Mr. A. F. Barnes, of the Iron and Steel Board, will be Secretary to the Committee, which is to begin work at once.

Mr. Renton

Can the Minister say whether he has considered the possibility of using as scrap the Japanese warships referred to in a very recent White Paper as being redundant, and which apparently are being scrapped a long way from here, but which might very well be sailed here and used for scrap?

Mr. Strauss

I do not know whether it has been specifically considered. I doubt whether it would be of great value; we have had a considerable supply of scrapped battleships—the enemy's and our own—with which we have to deal in the next 18 months or so, and I do not think we could deal with much more than we have already got.

Mr. Willis

Can my right hon. Friend say whether it is still expected that we might get a million tons of scrap from Germany this year?

Mr. Strauss

I doubt whether we shall get as much as that, but we want to get as much as we can during the coming year.