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Iron And Steel (Western Europe)

Volume 463: debated on Monday 11 April 1949

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asked the Minister of Supply how the British proportion of the £75 million applied for by the Economic Co-operation Administration on behalf of the iron and steel industry of Western Europe is composed.

The facts on which the hon. and gallant Member's Question is based are incorrect. The position is that £25 million (not £75 million) has been applied for, not by E.C.A. but by countries participating in O.E.E.C., for schemes approved by that organisation. The United Kingdom's share is about £7¾ million, of which nearly £6¾ million is for the Steel Company of Wales, and a little over £1 million for Messrs. Stewarts and Lloyds.

Since this is the first composite demand by the countries of Western Europe to America for aid, does not the right hon. Gentleman think it would be desirable to state whether this is a loan or a grant and what conditions are attached to it, and in general, to disclose the whole situation? It is an historic incident.

All that has happened is that application has been made to E.C.A. for these sums. It is not possible to say now whether the loan or grant will be made and, if so, whether there will be any conditions.