5. Earl of DALKEITH
asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will investigate the effect of the increasing timber imports from Russia on the sale of home-grown timber, on the restriction of the internal timber trade, and on the reduction of railway transport of homegrown timber, with the object of ascertaining, with a view to remedial 'action if necessary, whether employment in this country is thereby prejudiced?
In view of the very small proportion of our supplies of timber that is or can be derived from home sources, and of the fact that imports from Russia only constitute a minor part of our supplies from overseas, I do not think any useful purpose would be served by such an inquiry as is suggested.
Earl of DALKEITH
Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that, owing to the increasing imports of timber, a great deal of employment has been destroyed?
At the moment, I can only regard the fact that the home supplies 190 are very small, and, therefore. I hardly think this inquiry will do any good.
Has the right hon. Gentleman's Department made any expert investigations into the question of the home timber trade, and is he aware that in many parts of England and Scotland home-grown timber is almost unsaleable owing to lack of organization?
I am not aware of any reason for an inquiry. There is material, of course, in the Board of Trade on that subject, but I should require notice of it.
§ Sir WILLIAM DAVISON
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is a large amount of timber ready for felling which has not been felled by reason of the fact that there is no ready market for British timber as against this dumped timber?
§ Mr. HACKING
Does the right hon. Gentleman admit that this timber is produced by convict labour in Russia?
Questions on that point have been raised very frequently. We have no definite information on the matter.