HC Deb 04 December 1956 vol 561 cc1030-1
21. Mr. G. Darling

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he has concluded his talks with the Iron and Steel Board about the effect of reduced oil shipments on steel production; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Erroll

Arrangements are being made for additional creosote pitch to be supplied to the steel industry to make up for the 10 per cent. cut in their supplies of fuel oil. We shall keep the situation constantly under review in consultation with the Iron and Steel Board.

Mr. Darling

Will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that our economic well-being depends not merely on maintaining the amount of oil needed to keep steel production as it was but on an immediate and progressive increase in steel production, which will be greatly needed in order to get us out of our economic difficulties?

Mr. Erroll

My right hon. Friend is, of course, aware of the need to increase steel production. The Answer to the hon. Gentleman's Question was designed to show that there will be no decrease in production as a result of a shortage of fuel oil.

Mr. Stokes

Genuinely seeking information, may I ask whether the steel masters have agreed that creosote and pitch will adequately take the place of oil?

Mr. Erroll

Yes, they are satisfied; and, of course, a good deal of creosote pitch has been used by the steel industry before, so that there is a good deal of experience in the use of this substitute.

Mr. Chetwynd

At the beginning of the use of creosote pitch, is there not normally a downfall in production? Has that been taken care of?

Mr. Erroll

Yes, that has been taken into account and it is thought that by making a gradual change-over there should be no downfall in production.

Mr. Usborne

Where are these supplies of creosote pitch obtained from? Will exports be prevented? Are there really adequate supplies of creosote pitch for this purpose?

Mr. Erroll

I am told that there are adequate supplies and that other users should not suffer inconvenience; in fact a good deal of creosote pitch already goes to the steel industry.

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