HC Deb 11 December 1950 vol 482 cc807-8
43 and 44. Mr. Arthur Colegate

asked the Minister of Supply (1) what steps he is taking, in view of his exhortations to representatives of the cycle industry to step up their export trade in relative comparison with the motor industry, to make available the additional supplies of steel, leather, nickel and other raw materials necessary;

(2) whether he is aware of the crisis now facing the cycle industry, due to shortage of strip steel, which threatens to cause chaos and unemployment in the industry within the next few weeks unless steps are taken to remedy the situation; and what he proposes to do about this matter.

Mr. G. R. Strauss

I am aware that the shortage of certain materials is affectting the engineering industries generally, and I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for Stechford (Mr. Jenkins) on 7th December.

Mr. Colegate

Since, in reply to Question No. 38, the Minister said that the shortage of steel was not due to rearmament, why were no steps taken to estimate the increased demand? The right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues have pressed manufacturers to increase their exports and, therefore, to use more raw material.

Mr. Strauss

In respect of many of the steels which are referred to, we do not make sufficient in this country—we have not done so for many years—and we import them from abroad. It has been impossible to buy those imports recently.

Captain Crookshank

Does the Minister now realise that, having three times referred to his reply to his hon. Friend the Member for Stechford (Mr. Jenkins) on 7th December, it would have been better for him to have made an announcement in the House?

Mr. Strauss

No, Sir.