HC Deb 21 February 1955 vol 537 c871
33. Mr. Albu

asked the Minister of Supply what report he has received from the Iron and Steel Board, under the provisions of Sections 5 and 6 of the Iron and Steel Act, 1953, concerning the present shortage of steel sheet and the problems raised by the expansion plans of the motor industry.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

I have not received any report from the Iron and Steel Board under the provisions mentioned by the hon. Member but I have had reports from time to time on the steel supply position generally, including sheet steel. In addition, I received recently from the Board a Report on the Development of the Industry from 1953–1958 which I shall, in accordance with Section 16 (2) of the Iron and Steel Act, 1953, be laying before the House tomorrow. This Report shows that considerable developments of sheet steel production are taking place, and that the problems raised by the expansion plans of the motor industry and other users are being borne in mind.

Mr. Albu

In view of the fact that imports of steel sheet are now running at the annual rate of £10 million a year, and in view of the consequent effects on our balance of payments and the further expansion plans of the industry if this goes on, is this not a matter about which the Government must be very much concerned? Are they not in some difficulty owing to the fact that any plan for an expansion of the production of steel sheet must be that of an individual firm at the present time instead of that of the industry as a whole?

Mr. Lloyd

That is not quite true because the Iron and Steel Board has an over-riding responsibility, but if the hon. Gentleman will wait until the Report is placed before the House tomorrow, I think he will see the way in which the matter is being tackled.

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