Oil (Government Purchases)

Oral Answers to Questions — National Finance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 10th February 1949.

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Photo of Mr Harold Davies Mr Harold Davies , Leek 12:00 am, 10th February 1949

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer at what price Middle East oil is being sold to the British Government.

Photo of Mr Douglas Jay Mr Douglas Jay , Battersea North

The British Government buy oil in various parts of the world, and in many cases do not know what is the country of origin. Generally speaking, the contract prices are based upon current world market prices, but in some cases there are long-term supply contracts.

Davies:

Is my hon. Friend telling the House that he has no idea of, and cannot work out the price of Middle Eastern oil; secondly, is he aware that while the aggregate volume of oil has only increased by 50 per cent. since 1938, the price has more than trebled; thirdly, is he aware that this has a deterrent effect on our economy; and, lastly, what steps are being taken towards the ratification of the Anglo-American Oil Treaty of 1945?

Photo of Mr Douglas Clifton Brown Mr Douglas Clifton Brown , Hexham

The hon. Member only asked at what price.

Photo of Mr Harold Davies Mr Harold Davies , Leek

May I ask my hon. Friend if I am going to get an answer to at least some of those supplementaries?

Photo of Mr Douglas Jay Mr Douglas Jay , Battersea North

The answer to my hon. Friend's first Question is that the price varies from one contract to another. The answer to his other questions is that in this country the economic price of oil is controlled by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Fuel and Power.