HC Deb 11 November 1957 vol 577 cc592-3
23. Mr. G. Darling

asked the Paymaster-General if he is satisfied that the iron and steel industry's development plans, as approved by the Iron and Steel Board, will sufficiently increase production capacity to meet future demands for all types of steel; and if he is satisfied that these plans will, in fact, be carried out by the dates promised for completion.

Mr. Renton

The development plans of the iron and steel industry, as approved by the Iron and Steel Board, were designed and are expected to meet the estimated requirements for home and export markets with due allowance for normal variations from programme dates.

Mr. Darling

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that shipbuilders and those responsible for oil refineries, storage capacity for oil, railways and other important industries which should be developed and expanded are by no means satisfied that this plan will produce the steel that they want in the early 1960s? Is it the Government's intention to balance demand and supply by cutting down demand, as they are doing by their policy?

Mr. Renton

There is no question of our cutting down demand.

Hon. Members

Yes, there is.

Mr. D. Jones

The Answer said so.

Mr. Renton

What my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has done is to ensure that the supply of money does not create an excessive demand in relation to our capacity to meet it. That is quite another matter. If those to whom the hon. Member has referred study the Report, I am sure that they will be confident, as we are, that the Report sets out fairly the needs of the industry over the next five years and the ways in which they can be met.

Mr. Woodburn

The point that my hon. Friend had in mind was whether the 7 per cent. Bank Rate and the credit squeeze will postpone the completion of this development so long that it will injure our export trade. What plans do the Government have for making positive selections and ensuring priority so that development will not be frustrated in this way?

Mr. Renton

That supplementary question goes far beyond the original Question, which asked whether the increased production capacity will "meet future demands for all types of steel", and I have given the answer to it.

Mr. Marquand

Will the hon. and learned Gentleman assure the House that the plans will not be modified or reduced in the light of the recent drop in demand for tinplate and other steel products?

Mr. Renton

That is another question.

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