HC Deb 14 March 1917 vol 91 cc1116-7W

asked the Minister of Munitions whether he is aware that his Department are now refusing to private purchasers all permits for the importation of sulphur from Sicily, giving as explanation that some scheme is being framed by his Department for the distribution of supplies; is he aware that it was in the early days of February that this scheme was intimated; that nothing has yet been done further in the matter; and that merchants who deal in this commodity are being pressed for delivery by firms who are engaged on Government work; and seeing that the Italian Government are freely granting permits to the consignors, will he say what action he proposes to take?


The Italian Government has made specified allotments to the various Allied and Neutral Governments and has requested that so far as this country is concerned the transaction might be between the two Governments, leaving His Majesty's Government to act as distributor to British consumers. A scheme is being framed to deal with the distribution of sulphur, and details will be published as soon as possible. Some delay has been caused by the lack of certain information which had to be procured from Italy and has not yet come to hand, although every effort has been made to obtain it. In the meantime, however, assistance has been given to manufacturers who were short of sulphur. My hon. Friend appears to be misinformed regarding the free granting of permits by the Italian Government. I am advised that no permits are being issued beyond those I have already mentioned.