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Cement Imports

Volume 476: debated on Monday 26 June 1950

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asked the Minister of Works what quantities of cement are being imported; and what is the average price per ton delivered in this country.

Eighty thousand tons of cement and clinker are being imported under arrangements made between the cement industry and my Department, and the whole of this is being sold at the same price as British cement. I understand that in addition a comparatively small amount is entering under private arrangements and is being sold at higher prices.

I did not ask the right hon. Gentleman what prices it has been sold at. The Question asks:

"what is the average price per ton delivered in this country"
from abroad? In other words what price are we paying for it?

We are paying rather more than for home-produced cement. Imported cement is being subsidised to the tune of about £2 per ton.

Does the Minister mean to say that the prices we are paying for our cement imports are higher than the prices which we are receiving for our cement exports? If so, does he consider that good planning?

I did not say that at all. If the hon. Member wishes to ask that question, I shall be glad to answer it next week if he will put down a Question.

Is it not also a fact that much of this imported cement has to be mixed with a resistant material—

The Question asks only for quantities and the average price of imported cement.

Could the right hon. Gentleman not state the actual price, as asked for in the Question?

I have done so. I have stated that we are paying more for the imported cement—about £2 per ton more. The average price we charge to the industry is the same as for the home product.