§ LORD WOLVERTON
My Lords, I beg leave to ask His Majesty's Government the question standing in my name in the Order Paper.
§ [The question was as follows:
§ To ask His Majesty's Government what proportions the allocation of constructional steel for new electric power station construction in Great Britain for the years 1947 and 1948 respectively bore to the estimated allocation of such steel for this purpose for the year 1949.]
THE MINISTER OF CIVIL AVIATION (LORD PAKENHAM)
My Lords: the allocation of steel for the construction of new electricity generating stations in 1948 was nearly four times the allocation made in 1947. No allocations of steel for any purpose have yet been made for 1949.
§ LORD WOLVERTON
My Lords, while thanking the noble Lord for his reply, may I say that there is considerable apprehension as to whether it will be possible to carry out the programme laid down in the Government White Paper, Economic Survey for 1948? I am told that the programme is already running about eighteen months or two years behind. If allocations cannot be better made in future, we shall not achieve an even keel, let alone the "plus" basis estimated by 1950. I am credibly informed that one of the main reasons is that electricity concerns cannot obtain large enough allocations of structural steel to speed up the construction of generating stations.
While I hope that the apprehensions to which the noble 19 Lord has referred are exaggerated, I will certainly lay what he has said before my right honourable friend.
§ LORD BARNBY
My Lords, if I correctly understood the noble Lord's reply, the allocations for 1948 were four times those of 1947. The point I want to ask the noble Lord is whether 1947 was not an especially low constructional year, in view of the fact that the exigencies of the war programme cut down construction very much below the original programme of the Central Electricity Board.
I have not at my disposal now all the necessary information on that point, but I will undertake to let the noble Lord have the full facts.