HC Deb 13 May 1948 vol 450 cc2277-8
58. Mr. Hardy

asked the Economic Secretary to the Treasury whether, as steel production is now running at an annual rate of 15 million tons, allocations of steel to consumers are to remain on the basis of the target of 14 million tons.

Mr. Jay

No, Sir; the main allocations are on a quarterly basis, and take full account of the expected supplies from home production and imports. The target of 14 million ingot tons for home production in 1948 was thought to be barely attainable, when fixed, but thanks to the strenuous and successful efforts of all concerned, the target rate has in recent weeks been exceeded. Owing to seasonal factors it is unlikely that the present rate can be maintained without interruption. There will be difficulties about raw materials, and there may be other limiting factors outside the control of the industry itself. The Government intends to continue helping the industry in every way to maintain the present momentum; and in view of the promising start, and the imperative need for increasing supplies, the Government has decided to raise the target for home production in 1948 to 14½ million tons. The current allocations are already being made with this increase in mind, but also with due regard to the uncertainties about imports. I must make it clear, however, that in view of the increasing demands from essential consuming industries, there is as yet no prospect of any great casement of the general shortage.

Major Guy Lloyd

Is not one of the major limiting factors the constant threat of nationalisation?

Mr. Jay

No, Sir, the excellent figures show that the possibility of nationalisation is having a most stimulating effect.