HC Deb 20 January 1949 vol 460 cc323-4
37. Mr. Douglas Marshall

asked the President of the Board of Trade how much granite and marble, respectively, was imported by the United Kingdom in 1948 and 1949; what is the estimated import for 1949; how many British associations will take part in importing granite during 1949; and what was the total production of granite in England, Scotland, Wales and Cornwall in 1948.

Mr. H. Wilson

Seven thousand tons of granite, value £53,000, and 15,713 tons of marble, value £404,000, were imported into the United Kingdom in 1948. No figures are yet available for actual imports in 1949 to date. Imports have been permitted only at the request of the foreign countries concerned, and as part of satisfactory trade agreements with them; the hon. Member will not expect me to forecast what may be the outcome of 1949 trade negotiations with the countries concerned, since these are not yet completed. Import licences will be issued to individual importers and there will be no question of importing through particular trade associations. Total estimated production for England, Scotland, and Wales in 1948 was approximately 4,100,000 tons. Of this Cornish production was approximately 32,000 tons.

Mr. Marshall

May I ask the Minister if, before these negotiations were settled the industry was consulted in any way, because this is a hurt so far as Cornwall is concerned with regard to the importation of granite?

Mr. Wilson

I have already made clear to the hon. Gentleman for what a small proportion of the national output Cornwall is responsible. We are well aware of the views of the industry. They have been very vocal in this matter. I hope certain questions about procedure for imports will be looked after in the negotiations which are being concluded.

Mr. Beechman

As a quarry in Cornwall was shut down, will the Minister be so good as to see that consultations take place with the industry to make sure that our granite is used to the fullest extent possible, especially in the making of roads?