HC Deb 18 August 1919 vol 119 cc1875-7

asked the President of the Board of Trade when Government purchases of timber ceased and the date when timber was decontrolled; what premises the Controller of Timber Supplies, the Government timber buyer, and the Timber Disposal Board are at present occupying, respectively; how many clerks and officials are or were employed in each Department, respectively, on 1st December, 1st April, and 1st August last; and what is the cost of the administration of each case?


As the answer is somewhat long I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.


Will the right hon. Gentleman also state in the reply whether the Government timber buyer is also operating his own private yard?

Staff at 80, Newman Street (a) Staff at Salisbury House.
Timber Supplies Department (Board of Trade). Disposal Board (Timber Section). Government Timber Buyers.
Nos. Annual cost. Nos. Annual cost. Nos. Annual cost. (c)
£ £ £
1st December, 1918 466 70,941 596 97,680
1st April, 1919 267 46,151 6 2,840 591 99,643
1st August, 1919 191 (b) 31,690 19 5,017 564 (d) 90,352
(a) Includes numbers and salaries (paid by lending Departments) of Army officers. Civil servants and railway officials on loan to the Departments, but excludes messengers.
(b) Twenty-six members of this staff are also partly engaged on Disposal Board work.
(c) This does not include the remuneration of the three partners.
(d) Ten members of this staff are partly engaged on Disposal Board work.

I may add that since the Armistice sales to the following amounts have been made and others are being arranged daily:

On account of Timber Supplies Department —
Standing timber 763,000
Other home-grown timber 835,000
Imported timber 14,871,000
Plant and miscellaneous 54,000


I should require special notice of the last part of the question. The answer which is prepared covers the point raised in the question, which is in some respects different from that raised by the hon. Member.

The following is the answer referred to:

The control of timber (other than pit-wood) ceased at the end of March last. The Controller of Timber Supplies has, however, to dispose of the balance of the national stock of imported timber (some of which is still in transit to this country) and of the stocks of home-grown timber, in the hands of his Department as well as of large quantities of standing timber, and of the Department's timber-working operations throughout the country, including those taken over from the Canadian Forestry Corps. In addition, the Controller of Timber Supplies is Controller for the disposal of timber handed over as surplus by various Government Departments. In London the Timber Supplies Department, including the Timber Section of the Disposal Board, occupies part of the York Hotel, 80, Newman Street, W., and the Government timber buyers occupy seventy-one rooms in Salisbury House, E.G. The remaining information asked for is as follows:

On account of Surplus Timber Section of Disposal Board— £
Surplus timber, various 777,000

The Department has not sought to extract large profits and the above sales have been made at prices differing little from the cost in the aggregate, making allowance for depreciation of plant where necessary. Having regard to the fact that the purchases were made in war-time, the results to date are considered highly satisfactory.