HC Deb 14 June 1956 vol 554 cc757-8
42. Mr. D. Howell

asked the President of the Board of Trade what increase he recently authorised in the price of scrap iron; what percentage increase this represents, and what is the price per ton as a result of this action; and why this increase was authorised.

The Minister of State, Board of Trade (Mr. A. R. W. Low)

The average increase in the price of iron and steel scrap was £2 a ton, or 24 per cent. The average price of scrap is now £10 10s. a ton. As regards the last part of the Question, I would refer to the reply which my right hon. Friend gave on 12th June to the right hon. Member for Ipswich (Mr. Stokes).

Mr. Howell

Is the Minister aware that he has not answered the question which I put to him about the percentage? Is it not a fact that this is a 17 per cent. increase in the cost of this basic raw material? Is he aware of the advice which Lord Rochdale gave the Chancellor of the Exchequer yesterday, that basic prices were the uncontrollable element in the cost of production? Is not this large increase quite unwarranted, and will it not reflect on the manufacturing costs of industry? Is this his Ministry's contribution to the plateau of stability?

Mr. Low

I answered the hon. Gentleman's Question. Perhaps he failed to hear me. The answer was 24 per cent. The reason for the increase was explained quite clearly in the reply to which I referred him.