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Motorcars (Home Market)

Volume 463: debated on Monday 11 April 1949

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asked the Minister of Supply whether he will make a statement concerning the allocation of cars to the home market.

Yes, Sir. It is essential that we should continue to make every effort to export the maximum number of cars and for that reason no reduction can be made in the export target of 75 per cent. of output. Steel allocations to car manufacturers will continue to depend on export performances, particularly to hard currency markets. The achievement of the 75 per cent. target would leave about the same number of cars for the home market as last year. However, in order to give manufacturers greater flexibility, they will no longer be asked to keep rigidly within quarterly allocations for the home market as long as their exports over a reasonable period attain the required level.

Will my right hon. Friend make available to the motor industry whatever steel is necessary to maintain an increased output both for the home and export markets?

All I can say is that the allocation of steel to the motor industry has been substantially increased.

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider releasing cars to local authorities, in view of the great shortage of cars for nurses at present?

In view of the anxiety felt among some workers in the motor industry, will my right hon. Friend make it plain that, whatever the balance between the home and export markets, it is the Government's overriding intention to ensure full employment for the industry's workers so long as the present good record of the industry continues?

We should like to do that, but it is quite impossible to allocate large quantities of steel, which is scarce, for a large number of cars for the home market.