HC Deb 24 October 1956 vol 558 cc640-1
44. Mr. P. Williams

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty what further action is being taken to improve supplies of steel to British shipyards.

Mr. Wingfield Digby

My noble Friend and the President of the Board of Trade are aware of the difficulties caused to the industry by the shortage of steel. My noble Friend is in close touch with the industry on the question of steel deliveries.

Mr. Williams

Is my hon. Friend aware that a lot of people are aware of these difficulties, but that awareness is not quite enough and what is needed is steel for the shipyards? Can we have some action?

Mr. Digby

My noble Friend is in touch with the President of the Board of Trade on this matter. The shipbuilding industry is not the only industry affected by the shortage of steel but in the circumstances we are doing the best we can to ensure a fair distribution among the shipbuilders.

Mr. Blenkinsop

Has the Minister given consideration to the need for effective planning in this industry to ensure proper distribution of steel supplies?

Mr. Digby

I am satisfied that the available supplies are being distributed pretty fairly.

Dame Irene Ward

Is my hon. Friend aware that this shortage of steel has been going on for a very long time and that merely because we have had a change of First Lord of the Admiralty in another place does not alter the fact that we have been waiting for a very long time for action? What action is being taken?

Mr. Digby

I am aware that the problem has become more acute again in recent months. It did, however, ease considerably a year or two ago and I hope that before long we shall be able to solve the difficulties. In point of fact, the deliveries are considerably greater than they were last year.

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