HL Deb 30 May 1946 vol 141 cc689-90WA

asked His Majesty's Government the value of all supplies declared as surplus by all government agencies since the termination of hostilities, and what is the value of such surplus stores and supplies which have been disposed of to date.


It is not the practice to value surpluses which are declared but awaiting disposal. To do so would serve no practical purpose; it would require an immense amount of work, and at best the disposal department could only give the goods an arbitrary value.

Up to March 31, 1946, the latest date for which figures are available, the value of Government-owned surplus manufactured civilian stores disposed of in the United Kingdom amounted to about £102 million. In addition to this, about£13½ million had so far been reported from the sale of overseas surpluses.

The above figures include transfers for the use of Government Departments but exclude food, most raw materials, fixed assets such as factories, and warlike stores (except as scrap or reusable metal). Foodstuffs surplus to Service requirements are taken back into bulk stock and are redistributed to meet normal allocations for civilian consumption in the United Kingdom, or are utilised to meet commitments for relief abroad; the approximate value of surplus foodstuffs handled up to the end of April, 1946, is £13 million. Surplus stocks of the important raw materials are taken over by the appropriate trading controls and incorporated in their normal stocks; no separate records of these are kept in the trading accounts. Government-owned factories which become surplus to the requirements of Government Departments are normally not disposed of by outright sale but are leased to selected tenants. Generally speaking, the only sales of warlike stores (except as scrap or re-usable metal) have been in the form of transfers to allied Governments normally either at nominal or no charge. Figures are not immediately available, and could only be computed with the greatest difficulty and probably at the expense of an increase in staff.

House adjourned at twenty minutes past seven o'clock.