HC Deb 14 November 1939 vol 353 cc584-6W
Mr. Stokes

asked the Minister of Supply (1) what proportion of the total iron ore used in the production of steel in this country is imported from abroad; and whether he is satisfied that the increased cost of purchase of that proportion since the war started, is sufficient to warrant the increases recently announced in the price of steel;

(2) whether his attention has been directed to the Import Duties Advisory Committee's recommendation of 1937 that control of steel prices should be supervised by somebody outside the industry responsible only for guarding the public interest; and whether, in view of the national emergency and the recently announced increase in the price of steel which will greatly increase the cost of the war, he will consider giving effect to this recommendation?

Mr. Burģin

Prior to the war a supervision of steel prices was exercised by the Import Duties Advisory Committee. Since the war these prices have been subject to Orders made by me prescribing maximum prices. The recent increase in prices took into consideration the additional cost of imported material, including our requirements not only of ore but of scrap, pig iron, and other iron and steel, together with increases in steel costs arising from the operation of sliding scales, and I am satisfied that the increase was warranted. In terms of iron content about one-half of the iron ore used in the production of steel in this country is imported from abroad.