HC Deb 07 May 1951 vol 487 cc1560-2
8. Mr. G. Cooper

asked the Minister of Supply in view of the shortage of scrap iron, whether he is aware of the large quantity of scrap available from obsolete plant in industry awaiting collection as scrap; and what steps he is taking to stimulate merchants in tapping this source.

Mr. G. R. Strauss

I would refer my hon. Friend to the replies which I gave to the hon. Member for Altrincham and Sale (Mr. Erroll) on 19th February last and to the hon. and learned Member for Brigg (Mr. E. L. Mallalieu) on 23rd April. Special attention is being given to securing as much scrap as possible from this source.

Mr. Cooper

In view of the undertaking which my right hon. Friend gave in the House to the effect that he would consider subsidising the recovery of such things as tramlines, would he consider giving similar help in the recovery of the scrap described in this Question, in view of the fact that the present controlled price of scrap makes it uneconomic to recover some of this material?

Mr. Strauss

I cannot accept that. The information that I have is that the present price is reasonable, and that any increase in the price of scrap would not bring in any more. In special circumstances, such as the raising of tramlines, the industry has agreed to make some special arrangement, but I would not like to expand that very far.

Sir R. Glyn

Will the Minister consult the Iron and Steel Federation, who feel that the present prices do not sufficiently remunerate the scrap merchants for collecting the metal?

Mr. Strauss

Yes, Sir. I am in consultation with the Federation, and they agree that the present basic price should not be raised.

Mr. Nabarro

Can the Minister say to what extent local authorities are participating in this scrap iron drive, in view of the fact that nearly all of them now have organisations for salvaging waste paper, to which, of course, scrap iron is complementary?

Mr. Strauss

Yes, Sir, the local authorities are being consulted by those responsible, for the scrap iron campaign.

Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd

The Midlands area, as I think the right hon. Gentleman knows, is a prolific source of this scrap, and would he consider allowing a larger proportion of it to be used locally, thus avoiding the charges involved in its transportation?

Mr. Strauss

I would like to consider with those responsible whether that is feasible.