HC Deb 12 June 1956 vol 554 cc209-10
1. Mr. E. Johnson

asked the President of the Board of Trade what quantity of copper has been sold by his Department since 1st January, 1954; what profit or loss was made on these transactions; and what proportion was exported.

The President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Peter Thorneycroft)

Approximately 114,000 tons. This includes sales by the Ministry of Materials. Information about the profits and losses arising from Government trading operations in copper generally is published in the annual Trading Accounts for each financial year but figures for other periods and for particular transactions are not available. My Department has no information about the proportion of the metal exported.

Mr. Johnson

May I take it from that Answer that no copper has been sold to be sent abroad by my right hon. Friend's Department since he has been in office?

Mr. Thorneycroft

I cannot answer that question, as I cannot tell what happens to the copper after it is sold.

2. Mr. E. Johnson

asked the President of the Board of Trade what stocks of copper are now held by his Department; and at what price it was bought.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

All the copper stocks held by my Department, apart from a small trading residue of 1,700 tons are held in the strategic reserve, and it would be contrary to well established practice to give any information about the size of this stock. The copper was purchased over a period of years at prices based on those ruling at the time of purchase.