§ [The question was as follows:
§ To ask His Majesty's Government, if they are aware that, whilst there is an overall shortage of steel to meet demands of windows for housing, owing to the ineffectiveness of the steps taken by the various departments concerned, the actual rollings are so unbalanced as to result in entirely uneconomic use of the supplies available, regional unemployment and grave hurt to the Government housing programme.]
§ LORD AMMON
My Lords, the Government are aware that there has been some lack of balance in the production of the different sections used for metal windows, some of which can only be rolled by a few specialist firms, and my right honourable friends the Minister of Supply and the Minister of Works are endeavouring to get supplies into balance.
§ LORD WOLVERTON
I thank the noble Lord very much for his answer, but arising out of that would it be possible to say at what date these balances would become effective? It is extremely important to the home industry and also to the export trade.
§ LORD AMMON
I am afraid I cannot give the noble Lord an exact date, but I can give him a little more information 1219 as to the production, which I think is really what he wants. The Ministry of Works programme for steel for metal windows, which is now rising to about 30,000 tons per quarter, is between three and four times the peak pre-war production. Steps were taken some time ago: (a) To provide additional capacity at the works of the specialist re-rolling firms which will be coming into production this quarter; (b) to obtain production from non-specialist re-rollers; (c) to open an old plant of one of the specialist firms, and (d) to import from Belgium. The Belgians have not, so far, met their promises for delivery, and we have not yet been able to get labour for the closed 1220 works—the combined efforts of the Ministry of Labour and ourselves produced only three men. We have now arranged for production in Germany.