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 Mr Roland Jennings Mr Roland Jennings , Sheffield, Hallam 12:00 am, 12th November 1951

I rise as the representative of one of the constitutencies in that great steel city of Sheffield. [An HON. MEMBER: "Residential."]. Go to Sheffield and find out. I am very much concerned about the industry there. I speak also as a Member who has spoken in every steel debate on the Floor of this House and also a great number of times in the Standing Committee when the Iron and Steel Bill was being debated.

I find that what hon. Members opposite are saying tonight about putting the national interest first is exactly what I was saying to the then Government on the Floor of the House and in Standing Committee. On dozens of occasions I appealed to the then Minister and to the Parliamentary Secretary, the hon. Member for Rotherham (Mr. Jack Jones) to put the national interest first and delay the vesting date of the Act in view of the position of the great dollar-earning steel industry of Sheffield.

We in Sheffield manufacture special alloy steels which are renowned throughout the world. There are hon. Members representing other parts of the city who will confirm that the industry in Sheffield was looked upon as one of the greatest dollar-earning industries of this country. I appealed to the Minister and the Parliamentary Secretary to say what their policy was on the nationalisation of the iron and steel industry. Even to this day the Opposition, the then Government, have no idea what the nationalisation of iron and steel meant. All they wanted to do was to grab the shareholdings. Well, they got the shareholdings, and there is no doubt that they were in a difficulty about the Corporation. They had to go outside the industry and put in charge of this Corporation a man who had never been in the steel industry in his life.