§ 30. Mr. Darling
asked the President of the Board of Trade what is his estimate of the effect which the shortage of home-produced silicon manganese steel, used for making coil springs, is likely to have on the imports of steel and exports of products of which springs are essential components; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. J. Rodgers
My right hon. Friend understands that the Iron and Steel Board is examining, in consultation with the Coil Spring Federation and with the steel producers, the reported shortage of silicon manganese steel used for the production of coil springs, and until this examination is completed it is not possible to say whether imports of steel are likely to go up. He has no reason to think that exports of products incorporating coil springs will be adversely affected.
§ Mr. Darling
Those observations certainly are not borne out by the statements made by the manufacturers in Sheffield. Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that one of the biggest manufacturers has said that he is going as far away as Japan in search of steel to bring to Sheffield? Does not that cause the Parliamentary Secretary any alarm? Is he not aware that this situation arises from the fact that the private steel companies will not plan ahead to meet demand but wait for demand to catch up with them?
§ Mr. Rodgers
As I have said, the Iron and Steel Board is conducting an examination. Through the Ministry of Power we are keeping in touch with the Board. Should a shortage of silicon manganese exist, we shall take any steps necessary in order to avoid loss of exports.