HC Deb 28 November 1928 vol 223 cc428-9W

asked the Minister of Transport if he is aware that in the 10 months ended 31st October the imports of broken road-stone from foreign countries amounted to 280,480 tons as against 192,290 tons during the same period last year; that the September imports alone amounted to 25,507 tons as against 13,090 tons in the same month last year; and that these figures do not include setts and kerbs, of which 136,971 tons were imported last year; and whether, having regard to the fact that several thousand British quarry workmen are at present unemployed, he will now consider the desirability of withholding grants for road making by the local authorities throughout the country unless they stipulate for the use of British stone only?

Colonel ASHLEY

It has not been found possible within the short time available to verify the figures quoted by my hon. and gallant Friend, but I would point out that these imported materials are not necessarily all used by local authorities or for work eligible for grants from the Road Fund. As I pointed out yesterday in answer to a question by the hon. Member for the Horncastle Division of Lindsey (Mr. Haslam), the local authorities have, generally speaking, and so far as I have been able to judge, responded satisfactorily to the representations made to them by my Department in favour of the use of British materials. I would also recall the figures I quoted in reply to my hon. and gallant Friend's previous question on 19th March last., showing how comparatively small a proportion of the total consumption of road materials is represented by imported stone. As explained on previous occasions, I am not prepared to depart from the policy hitherto pursued by my Department.