HC Deb 01 May 1950 vol 474 cc1384-5
13. Mr. Russell

asked the Minister of Supply whether in view of the relatively plentiful supplies of lead now obtainable from non-dollar sources he will now consider abandoning bulk buying of lead by His Majesty's Government and allowing private merchants to import it under a system of currency allocation

Mr. G. R. Strauss

As the relative abundance of lead may prove to be only temporary I am not at present prepared to disturb the existing arrangements, which enable us to obtain maximum supplies of sterling metal and to control effectively the expenditure of dollars and other hard currencies. The selling price of virgin lead in the United Kingdom is no higher than in the United States and the Chief Continental countries.

Mr. Russell

Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that if it could be decontrolled, the price would go down, as it has done with so many other commodities?

Mr. Strauss

I do not think that that necessarily follows.