Oral Answers to Questions — Linseed Oil

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th November 1946.

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Brigadier Maclean:

asked the Minister of Food how much linseed oil, or oil equivalent, was imported into this country during the 12 months ended 31st October last; and how it was allocated as between different industries.

Photo of Dr Edith Summerskill Dr Edith Summerskill , Fulham West

The oil equivalent of the linseed, together with the oil imported as such, during the 12 months ended 2nd November, 1946, was 98,757 tons. As the information about allocations involves a long table of figures, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Brigadier Maclean:

Is the hon. Lady aware that the small allocation to the linoleum industry is causing serious unemployment?

Photo of Dr Edith Summerskill Dr Edith Summerskill , Fulham West

I realise the difficulties of the linoleum industry but, unfortunately, we have not the linseed.

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

As the hon. Lady is going to circulate the figures, will she include last year's figures for comparison?

Following is the information:

Allocations of linseed oil during the12months ended 2nd November,1946

87,079 tons of linseed oil were distributed from Ministry of Food supplies during the 12 months ended 22nd November, 1946. The allocations were as follows:—

Tons.
Paint, varnish, putty, white lead55,401
Linoleum11,323
Core compound3,321
Leathercloth, oilskins, tarpaulins, proofed cloth3,009
Railways2,668
Printing ink2,281
Other uses, including adhesives, artists' colours, belting leather dressing, brake linings, builders' merchants, chemists, concrete hardeners, disinfectants, dockyards, engineering uses, hard board, oiled paper, pottery, rubber substitutes, sealing compounds, soft soap, ships' stores, sulphonation, textiles, veterinary purposes, wall covering9,076
87,079

Photo of Mr Thomas Hubbard Mr Thomas Hubbard , Kirkcaldy District of Burghs

asked the Minister of Food if, in view of the unemployment in the linoleum industry, and the need for linoleum for new houses, he will allocate an increased tonnage of linseed oil for industrial purposes.

Photo of Dr Edith Summerskill Dr Edith Summerskill , Fulham West

I regret that our stocks will not permit an increase in the overall rate of usage of linseed oil at present.

Photo of Mr Thomas Hubbard Mr Thomas Hubbard , Kirkcaldy District of Burghs

Is my hon. Friend aware that the very low tonnage of linseed oil made available in this country, as compared with the United States, is responsible for the reduction in the manufacture of linoleum, and that, apart from the domestic side, that has an effect on the import market, and it is impossible to cm-ploy many thousands of workers?

Photo of Dr Edith Summerskill Dr Edith Summerskill , Fulham West

I recognise all those things. But, unfortunately, India has prohibited the export of linseed, and it has been difficult to acquire any in the Argentine.

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

What about the Argentine?

Photo of Dr Edith Summerskill Dr Edith Summerskill , Fulham West

I said it is very difficult to get any from the Argentine.

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

Will the hon. Lady remind the Minister that if he had employed private individuals to get it, they would have got it?

Photo of Dr Edith Summerskill Dr Edith Summerskill , Fulham West

I would like to inform the right hon. Gentleman that we have the best business men in the country in the Argentine, and they are not civil servants.

Photo of Colonel Charles Ponsonby Colonel Charles Ponsonby , Sevenoaks

Is it true that the allocation to the industry is only 20 per cent, of the prewar supply?

Photo of Dr Edith Summerskill Dr Edith Summerskill , Fulham West

That may be true, but the allocation is decided by a committee.