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London Metal Market

Volume 464: debated on Monday 9 May 1949

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asked the Minister of Supply if he is now able to make a statement regarding the opening of the London Metal Exchange.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that his attitude in this matter is responsible for lead being something like £37 a ton and zinc about £31 a ton higher in price in this country; and why does he not realise that this extraordinary attitude of mind is the greatest handicap producers can have in selling their goods abroad?

I do not accept the implications in that question a bit. If it were not for the fact that we have been bulk purchasing metals many of our manufacturers would have been without their raw materials.

In view of the fact that His Majesty's Government are losing millions of Marshall dollars because of the contract prices for the second quarter for 4,500 tons of lead, 18,000 tons of copper and 18,000 tons of zinc, all purchased at prices well above existing world prices, will the Minister kindly reconsider this matter?

No, Sir, I still do not accept the implications put forward by the hon. Member. However, the question of the opening of the Metal Exchange is under review, but I have no statement to make about it at the moment.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the prices of a number of British goods are now well above world prices for no other reason than that manufacturers cannot get their raw materials at world prices?

Is the Minister aware that when he was talking about the Liverpool Cotton Exchange recently he said that its re-opening and the extension of its use were under consideration; and will he now, after all these years, stop merely considering and open the Metal Exchange?

In view of the very unreasonable attitude of the Minister, I beg to give notice that I shall try to raise this matter on the Adjournment at a very early date.