asked the President of the Board of Trade the number of firms employed in the making of explosive and other powders for military purposes; what quantity has been exported and to what countries; and whether he can give figures of export for the past three years and to the nearest available date?
The number of firms in the United Kingdom, apart from toy firework factories, licensed by the Secretary of State for Home Affairs under the Explosives Act, 1875, to manufacture explosives of all kinds is 53; the number manufacturing explosives for purely military purposes cannot be stated. The hon. Member will find on pages 350 and 351 of Volume III of the Annual Statement of Trade for 1933 particulars of the exports of the various descriptions of propellant powders and high explosives during each of the last five years, distinguishing the countries of consignment. Separate particulars are shown in respect of smokeless sporting powders, but it is not possible to distinguish, as regards the other items enumerated, powders and explosives intended for military purposes from those intended for industrial purposes. The particulars for the expired period of the present year are not readily available.