HC Deb 17 April 1962 vol 658 cc216-7
13. Mr. Hale

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he proposes to renew the export licence system for scrap iron from the date of present expiry.

Sir K. Joseph

A new open general licence comes into operation on the 26th April which will permit the export, with certain exceptions, of iron and steel scrap between 26th April and 25th July, 1962.

Mr. Hale

Is it correct, as I am informed by my constituents, that since the licensing system came in, the price of this scrap has gone up by 20 per cent. to the grave detriment of local manufacturers, and that the increased exports have been offset completely by increased imports of manufactured products made from the iron? Is not this on the whole, therefore, a somewhat unfortunate procedure?

Sir K. Joseph

I cannot answer all the hon. Member's questions, which really cover another subject, but I hope that he is not confusing the price of cast iron scrap, which has risen, which is in short supply and which is excluded from this licence to export.

Mr. Cleaver

Is my hon. Friend aware that if this scrap is exported in the form of finished manufactured articles, it has a high convertibility ratio? Does he not consider it rather stupid to export this vital material very cheaply?

Sir K. Joseph

The fact is that ferrous scrap is in surplus and the best market for it at present is abroad. It is cast iron scrap that is in short supply and we are not allowing it to be exported.

Mr. Ridley

Is my hon. Friend satisfied that we can distinguish between cast iron scrap and steel scrap? My information is that cast iron scrap is going out of the country and forcing up the price at home.

Sir K. Joseph

My hon. Friend is quite right in saying that it is difficult to distinguish. That is why, after consultation with the trade, scrap that contains up to 15 per cent. of cast iron is being allowed to be exported, so that individual exporters will not suffer penalties if they cannot distinguish small amounts of cast iron in general iron and steel scrap.