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Surplus Government Stores

Volume 416: debated on Monday 19 November 1945

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asked the Minister of Supply and of Aircraft Production what is the method of disposal of surplus Government material in the Middle East; and what sum has so far been realised.

The Ministry of Supply and of Aircraft Production is responsible for the disposal of all Government surpluses in the Middle East, other than ocean-going vessels. Our policy is to dispose of all overseas surpluses locally, apart from a few selected items in short world supply. These arc reported back to this country for re-allocation or disposal. Due consideration is given to the economic and political conditions of the territories in which the surpluses arise. It is not possible or necessarily desirable to adopt an identical procedure throughout an area where local conditions vary so widely, but in normal circumstances surpluses are disposed of roughly in the following order of priority and by the following methods of sale:

(i) The requirements of local Governments purchasing for their own immediate use—by direct sale.

(ii) The essential needs of the local community—by sale to recognised dealers.

(iii) The balance—by sale (by tender or auction) to the general public.

The sum realised up to the end of August, 1945, is approximately £5,000,000.

asked the Minister of Supply and of Aircraft Production what steps he is taking to dispose of the quantities of light metal sheets, rod and bar, lying in disposal storehouses such as Hawthorn, Caledonian Market and Aldenham.

The best manner of disposing of stocks of surplus fabricated aluminium is now under close examination.

asked the President of the Board of Trade the value of sales of surplus Government manufactured civilian stores up to date.

The value of surplus manufactured products is estimated to be rather in excess of £20,000,000 up to the end of August. The value to date is not at present available but will, of course, be considerably higher.

asked the President of the Board of Trade why he is allowing surplus rayon and cotton cloth to be disposed of for bulk sale abroad and refuses to allow this cloth to be distributed to the making-up manufacturers in this country; and if he will alter this policy, which loses thousands of pounds in wages here and in exchange from abroad.

So far, no Government surplus cotton or rayon cloth has been made available for export in the form of piece goods.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will consider giving priority to ex-Servicemen wishing to re-equip offices and business premises in the matter of surplus stores and equipment.

I regret that it is not practicable to make special arrangements for the direct sale of Government surplus office furniture and equipment to individuals, however deserving, as this would require a large new sales organisation for which neither staff nor space is available.