§ 21. Mr. Chetwynd
asked the President of the Board of Trade what action is being taken to maintain supplies of sulphur for industrial purposes in view of the proposed cut in shipments of sulphur from the United States of America.
Mr. H. Wilson
All known alternative sources of supply have been or are being investigated, but on present information it is unlikely that they will afford any substantial contribution to our requirements. In consultation with industry, I am considering plans for the extended use of other sulphur-bearing materials both in acid production and for the extraction of crude sulphur.
§ Mr. Chetwynd
Do these measures include the development of supplies at home? Is my right hon. Friend aware of the large deposits of anhydrite in the area of Tees-side, and is he taking any action to get greater supplies of sulphur and sulphuric acid from this source?
Yes, Sir, very much so. We have been impressing on the interests concerned for some time, before the present shortage, the desirability of considering plans for making sulphuric acid either from pyrites, which is in easier supply, or from our own native supplies. In the present situation, we shall press on much more strongly with these representations.
§ 22. Mr. Hollis
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will make a statement on the prospects for the import of sulphur into this country from the United States of America.
Mr. H. Wilson
Sulphur was one of the commodities specially mentioned by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister in his discussions in Washington on shortages of raw materials. We have secured some shipments for January and we are awaiting the announcement of the United States Government on export quotas for the first half of 1951.
§ Mr. Hollis
Is it a fact that shipments for January amounted to merely 10,000 tons whereas the total amount we required in the past has been something in the nature of 400,000 tons, and that that is a very small contribution to the problem? Will the right hon. Gentleman make a statement as soon as possible?
I will make a statement as soon as possible. I have not the figures with me, but I think that the hon. Gentleman's figures are not accurate. We have secured some improvement in the shipments for January, and, of course, his requirement figures were not related to the month of January only, but to the whole year.
§ Mr. Hollis
If the welcome news that we have had some improvement in the figures for January is true, could the right hon. Gentleman make a statement about the figures as soon as possible because that is very important?
I understand that this matter may be debated tomorrow, and I will see whether my right hon. Friend who is dealing with it can then make a statement about it.