§ Mr. Cove
asked the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence whether any steps have been taken to carry out the undertaking given to the Government to establish a calium carbide works in South Wales; and whether any action is being taken by any other company to establish works for the same purpose in any other part of the country?
§ Sir T. Inskip
The undertaking given by the British Oxygen Company to which the hon. Member no doubt refers was to proceed with the Port Talbot part of their 3347W scheme without awaiting the decision of the House on the Caledonian Power Bill. In pursuance of this undertaking they actually acquired a site at Port Talbot and entered into covenants as to building on the site. They also set op foot various negotiations for supply of the necessary limestone and other materials. The Government had informed the House on the 18th November, 1937, that they regarded as satisfactory the proposals of the British Oxygen Company which were for a combined scheme to produce calcium carbide at Port Talbot and Corpach. The Corpach part of this scheme was rejected by the House in circumstances which are no doubt within the recollection of the hon. Member. The decision of the House was not unreasonably regarded by the British Oxygen Company as creating a new situation, and I am now advised by them that, after full consideration of that situation, and especially of the present commercial possibilities for production of calcium carbide, they do not feel justified in proceeding with the Port Talbot part of the scheme. I am not aware of any such other proposals as are referred to in the last part of the question.