HC Deb 28 January 1957 vol 563 cc121-2W
120. Mr. Bence

asked the Paymaster-General what developments within the steel industry are being undertaken to overcome the chronic shortage of steel supplies to the shipbuilding industry.

Mr. Maudling

Supplies of all steel from steelworks to shipbuilders were 14 per cent. higher in 1956 than in 1955. The Iron and Steel Board informs me that production of the steel plates and heavy sections which the shipbuilders require will increase year by year from steel making projects now in hand, and that other major projects have been approved or are in the planning stage. I regret to say, however, that it seems unlikely that the shipbuilders will be able to obtain their full needs of plate for some time to come without resort to imports.

Mr. Marquand

asked the Paymaster-General what proportions of the ingot output of the British steel industry were produced during the last quarter of 1956 by companies whose equity capital has been returned to private ownership and by companies the whole of whose capital stock is still in the hands of the Iron and Steel Holding and Realisation Agency, respectively.

Mr. Maudling

I am informed by the Iron and Steel Board that the proportions were 74.5 per cent. and 23.5 per cent. respectively. The remaining 2 per cent. was produced by companies which were not nationalized under the Iron and Steel Act, 1949.