HC Deb 29 June 1953 vol 517 cc7-8
10 and 12. Mr. Willey

asked the Minister of Supply (1) what adjustments in the pattern of production and deliveries have been considered desirable by the inter-Departmental committee on the allocation of steel plates; and what action has been taken;

(2) in what instances, since the appointment of the inter-Departmental committee on the allocation of steel plates, improved deliveries of steel plate have been arranged for Wear shipbuilders.

Mr. Sandys

A variety of steps have been taken with the object of ensuring that existing plate-making capacity is used to the full. In addition arrangements have been made to import increased quantities of steel plate from abroad. As a result there should be some progressive improvement in supplies. Increased deliveries of steel plates have been arranged for eight Wear shipbuilders.

Mr. Willey

The right hon. Gentleman will realise that we appreciate the setting up of the committee, but can he let us have more details about the steps which are being taken, because there is great interest in this? While we on the Wear seem to have good reason for satisfaction, the industry generally would appreciate being kept up to date about the steps that the committee is taking.

Mr. Sandys

I cannot go into great detail in answer to a supplementary question, but I can say that, in addition, the inter-Departmental committee has been trying to iron out specific difficulties. So far it has had 30 applications; action has been taken on 26 of them and the remaining four are under consideration.

Mr. P. Williams

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the Wear shipbuilders appear to be well satisfied with the initial moves of the inter-Departmental committee, but can he say whether the deliveries of imported steel plate are to be subtracted from the allocations of home steel plate?

Mr. Sandys

My hon. Friend should not make that assumption.

Mr. Hector Hughes

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the bad distribution of steel plates applies not only to the east coast of England but also to the north-east coast of Scotland? What is he doing to provide better supplies for the shipbuilding yards in North-East Scotland?

Mr. Sandys

Steps are being taken to improve supplies for the shipbuilding industry as a whole.

13. Mr. Champion

asked the Minister of Supply to what extent the shortage of steel plates and forgings for the Railway Executive's rolling stock programmes has now been overcome.

Mr. Sandys

There has been an improvement in the deliveries of plates and forgings for this purpose and I understand that this has enabled the Railway Executive to restore part of the cut they had been obliged to make in their rolling stock production programme.

Mr. Champion

Having regard to the fact that at present the Railway Executive are using many carriages which are 40 to 50 years old, will the Minister do his utmost not merely to restore the cuts but to give the Transport Commission a good and full allocation in their requirements for the whole of their programme?

Mr. Sandys

That is our aim.