HC Deb 21 November 1946 vol 430 cc177-8W
156. Mr. Stokes

asked the Minister of Supply why, for the nine months ended 30th September, 1,766,245 tons of steel were exported compared with 1,436,906 tons for the corresponding period in 1938, whereas only 373,186 tons were imported compared with 1,008,203 tons in the same period; and what steps he proposes to take to make good the deficit of 960,000 tons urgently required for industry at home.

Mr. Leonard

The substantial volume of exports in the early months of 1946 was due to the fact that the heavy pressure of home demand for steel did not develop until some months after the end of the war against Japan. There was thus a margin of steel production which was taken up by urgent export orders, on which deliveries continued in the early part of 1946. As soon as the domestic position became difficult, steps were taken to reduce the amount of steel allotted for export and to introduce a special licensing system for exports, with the object of ensuring that steel is only exported where failure to do so would be directly detrimental to the wider interests of the U.K. economy.

As regards the second part of the Question I would refer my hon. Friend to the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Lord President of the Council it the Debate yesterday.