§ Mr. D. Price
asked the Paymaster-General whether, in view of the disparity between British and Continental prices for steel plate, he is satisfied that the level of prices fixed by the Iron and Steel Board is high enough to provide the necessary economic incentive to expand the production of this scarce commodity; and, in view of the fact that the low level, compared with foreign prices, at which British prices are fixed, may itself be a contributory cause of the current shortage of steel plate, if he will exercise his powers under Section 10 of the Iron and Steel Act, 1953, with a view to fixing a higher maximum price.
§ Mr. Maudling
Last December the Iron and Steel Board increased the maximum prices for steel plates by nearly £4 a ton on average, or more than 10 per cent. This was appreciably more than122W the average increase in steel prices of 6 per cent. The Board has informed me that the greater increase in plate prices had special regard to the cost of production and reasonable capital charges at modern plant. The matter will be kept under review.