HC Deb 23 April 1951 vol 487 cc9-11W
86 and 87. Mr. Edelman

asked the Minister of Supply (1) what is the present shortfall of American sheet-steel deliveries to Britain;

(2) what representations he has made to the American suppliers of sheet-steel on contract to Great Britain, in order to ensure that supplies are delivered as contracted.

Mr. G. R. Strauss

The present shortfall in deliveries of steel sheet from the United States is 19,500 tons. In addition, orders have been placed for 30,000 tons of hot rolled coil for delivery between now and the end of the year. The orders are commercial transactions between the British Iron and Steel Corporation and individual steel companies in the United States and I have, therefore, made no representations to the suppliers.

88. Mr. Edelman

asked the Minister of Supply whether he will make representations to the International Materials Conference, in order to ensure that steel supplies produced by its members are fairly allocated.

Mr. G. R. Strauss

No. The main difficulties arise from shortage of particular materials used in steel-making, and certain studies in this field are already being carried out by the International Materials Conference in Washington and by other international bodies.

92. Mr. A. Lewis

asked the Minister of Supply if he will give an assurance that the tool steel necessary for the implementation of the re-armament programme for the year 1951–52 is available.

Mr. G. R. Strauss

I cannot at present give such an assurance because the production of tool steel depends on the availability of tungsten and other scarce alloying materials and I would refer my hon. Friend to the statement which I made on this subject last Friday.

95. Sir J. Mellor

asked the Minister of Supply what steps he is taking to deal with the shortage of all classes of steel in the United Kingdom.

Mr. G. R. Strauss

I would refer the hon. Member to the statement I made on 13th April in reply to a Question by the hon. Member for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson).

100. Mr. Jenkins

asked the Minister of Supply by what amount the rate of import of sheet steel in 1951 is less than the rate in 1950; what proportion this difference is of the rate of consumption by the motor industry at the end of 1950; and what other factors have been at work to make necessary the cuts which have been imposed on the motor industry.

Mr. G. R. Strauss

Imports of sheet steel of a kind suitable for the motor industry in the first quarter of 1951 were at a rate approximately 17 per cent. below the rate in 1950. The allocation to the motor industry for the second quarter is approximately 23 per cent. below the estimated consumption in the last quarter of 1950. Allocations in 1950 assumed a greater rate of import than was realised. Moreover, increased provision has now to be made for defence needs.