Orders of the Day — Steel Industry and Road Haulage

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th November 1951.

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Photo of Sir Spencer Summers Sir Spencer Summers , Aylesbury 12:00 am, 12th November 1951

It was primarily the right hon. Gentleman on the Front Bench opposite with whom I was finding fault. In studying the Amendment with which we are dealing this afternoon, I was interested to find that it is very different in its context from some of the speeches made by hon. Members opposite when this subject was debated in the House earlier. One of the reasons advanced when nationalisation was put forward was the imminence of re-armament and the great assistance which the policy of nationalisation would be to an efficient re-armament programme. It is surprising, therefore, that in this Amendment no mention is made of the re-armament situation.

Of course, the reason for the Amendment is not far to seek because, far from controlling the whole of the industry, which has been the burden of the speeches of hon. Members opposite, the present form taken by nationalisation does not control the whole industry at all. It merely controls the policy of a certain number of companies in the industry, and in fact those sections of the industry primarily concerned with rearmament are by no means controlled by the Corporation, which owns the shares of 80 companies and their subsidiaries. We have only to look at such sections as alloy steels, castings, drop forgings, tool steels and light bars to see what an insignificant proportion of the output is controlled by the organisation who owns the shares under nationalisation.