HC Deb 08 February 1954 vol 523 c817
23. Sir W. Smithers

asked the Minister of State, Board of Trade, as representing the Minister of Materials, in view of the fact that the net deficit for 1953 on Trading Controls and Directorates was £45,282,600, what steps he is taking to reduce this loss paid by the taxpayer.

Mr. Amory

As my hon. Friend is no doubt aware, effective steps have been taken to return to private hands trading in commodities with which my noble Friend's Department is concerned. Apart from winding-up operations, full-scale trading is now confined to tungsten ores and jute and jute goods.

Sir W. Smithers

As the total trading loss of Government Departments in the last financial year was £352 million, of which the £45 million mentioned in my Question was part, will my right hon. Friend give a lead by refusing to operate the ruinous Socialist doctrine of State trading?

Mr. Amory

My hon. Friend will probably agree that we have not done too badly. During the last 2¼ years the Government have relinquished trading in nine out of 11 major commodities. With regard to the last part of the supplementary question, I know that my noble Friend will keep the matter very much in mind.