Reclaimed Rubber.

Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Supply. – in the House of Commons on 21st January 1942.

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Photo of Mr John Parker Mr John Parker , Romford

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Supply (1) whether he is aware that the attention of the Rubber Control Board has been constantly drawn to the likely shortage of reclaimed rubber for a considerable period prior to the Malayan situation; and why the Rubber Control Board stated that no steps were to be taken as there was sufficient plant in the country to satisfy post-war demands;

(2) whether, when setting up Government regenerating plant for the treatment of rubber salvage in various parts of the country, he will undertake to see that steps are taken to ensure the use of the new efficient methods, particulars of which have already been furnished to the Ministry, and that the same consideration for the extension of plant will be given to those firms outside the Rubber Reclaimers' Association?

Dr. Russell Thomas:

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Supply, in view of the loss of our main sources of rubber, whether he is satisfied with the policy hitherto pursued by the Rubber Control Board in regard to the extension of the reclaimed rubber industry?

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Stockton-on-Tees

The question of a large expansion of the reclaim industry in this country was fully considered by the Ministry of Supply a long time prior to the outbreak of war with Japan, but, having regard to the great pressure on our resources for new constructional work of more immediate war significance, it was decided not to proceed with such a plan. Steps are being taken in the light of the changed situation to extend production by the most expeditious and efficient methods from whatever source they come.

Photo of Mr John Parker Mr John Parker , Romford

Is it not a fact that the control has been, and still remains, effectively in the hands of the plantation and tyre-producing interests in the industry, and that those interests deliberately tried, up to the very time of the Japanese invasion of Malaya, to prevent any development of the retreading or reclaiming industry in this country?

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Stockton-on-Tees

The Control is advisory to the Minister. The responsibility is in the hands of successive Ministers of Supply.

Photo of Mr Thomas Levy Mr Thomas Levy , Elland

Is my hon. Friend aware that the reclaiming and retreading of rubber have been going on for many months, and that it is an increasing industry which is being effectively carried on?

Photo of Mr John Parker Mr John Parker , Romford

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that these industries have been on a very small scale and that Messrs. Dunlop's and other big tyre-producing interests have done their best to discourage any expansion of plant up to the beginning of the war?

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Stockton-on-Tees

That is not the Question I was asked. The Control advises the Minister, and successive Ministers of Supply are alone responsible for the decisions taken. It would not be proper for them—nor is it their desire—to shelter behind the advice given by the Control.

Photo of Mr John Parker Mr John Parker , Romford

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I shall raise this matter on the Adjournment at the earliest opportunity.