§ Captain BARNETT
asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) whether he is aware that the manufacture of wire and wire products in this country is being seriously jeopardised by the dearth of raw material; whether wire manufacturers who have been asked to rely upon English mills for their supply if wire rods are only receiving about 8 per cent. of their requirements; and, if so, what steps he proposes to take in order to remedy this state of things; and (2) whether he is aware that the shortage of wire rods is rendering the manufacture of barbed wire in this country increasingly difficult; and, if so, whether he will endeavour to secure the importation of larger supplies of the raw material instead of ordering from abroad the manufactured product?
§ Mr. FORSTER
I have been asked to reply to both these questions. In regard 1739W to barbed wire manufacture, the whole of the existing plant is employed to its fullest capacity. From 1st June the whole of the wire drawers have been allocated a supply of English rolled rods equal in quantity to the average of their output per month during the previous five months of 1918. A new rod rolling mill has just started, and another large one is expected to start in. October next.