HC Deb 15 February 1951 vol 484 cc596-7
20. Mr. Boothby

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the further cuts threatened in supplies of tinplate will oblige British canners to cut down production and close factories; and, in view of the urgent necessity of building up food stocks in this country, whether His Majesty's Government will now restrict exports of tinplate to soft currency countries until the requirements of the home canning industry have been met.

The President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Harold Wilson)

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Tonbridge (Mr. G. Williams) on Monday, 29th January.

Mr. Boothby

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the increases in our exports of tinplate have been very great in the last 10 months, and that these have subsequently been used for canning goods which have been re-exported to this country? Is he further aware that quite a small percentage of this increase would satisfy the requirements of our own canners? Why does he not give it?

Mr. Wilson

I am sure the hon. Gentleman will be glad to know that an appreciable proportion of the amount going to export has now been diverted to the home market.

Lady Tweedsmuir

Is the President aware that a canning factory in the City of Aberdeen, which was opened only six months ago, has now to close because it is receiving only one-sixth of their rightful allocation of tinplate?

Mr. Wilson

I am well aware that there is a general shortage of tinplate at present, and this is likely to go on for another few months. While this is likely to continue, we have cut down exports quite sharply.

Mr. Douglas Marshall

Is the Minister aware of the importance of tinplate to the pilchard manufacturies of Cornwall, and the high nutriment value of the pilchard?

Mr. Wilson

Yes, Sir.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Will the right hon. Gentleman give this careful consideration, because in Aberdeen canning factories have actually closed and more propose to close? It is of vital importance that a newly-established industry should not be discouraged in this way.

Mr. Wilson

As I have made clear, this has been carefully considered with my right hon. Friends the Ministers of Food and Agriculture. In consequence, we have made reductions in the export of tinplate.

Mr. Boothby

In view of the altogether unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I will raise this matter on the Adjournment.