HC Deb 20 March 1956 vol 550 c993
36. Mr. Awbery

asked the President of the Board of Trade the total import of synthetic rubber from the United States of America in 1955; and what steps are being taken to manufacture it in this country.

Mr. Low

Imports of synthetic rubber from the United States in 1955 amounted to 13,337 tons. Certain companies have announced intentions to manufacture synthetic rubber amounting, in the aggregate, to 14,000 tons a year of special purpose types and 50,000 tons a year of general purpose types.

Mr. Awbery

Is the Minister aware that we would show a greater communal spirit if we purchased the natural rubber from Malaya instead of purchasing synthetic rubber from America? If it is necessary to purchase synthetic rubber, why cannot we produce it in this country more than we do?

Mr. Low

The reasons why it was necessary to purchase synthetic rubber were explained in an answer I gave to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Rochester and Chatham (Mr. Bottomley) on 13th December. As I have explained in my answer to the hon. Gentleman, steps are being taken now to produce synthetic rubber in this country.