HC Deb 10 July 1940 vol 362 cc1158-9
37. Mr. Leonard

asked the Minister of Supply whether he will reconsider the Timber Control Board's provision that national stock timber must be purchased through a timber merchant, and institute a system which would permit of direct purchase from the Board?

Mr. H. Morrison

To institute such a system as my hon. Friend suggests would involve creating all over the country a large and complicated organisation with technical knowledge to take the place of the merchanting organisation which already exists, and I do not think that the change would have advantages to outweigh, not only the expense, but also the delay and disorganisation of supply to users that it would entail.

Mr. Leonard

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a firm of Scottish contractors desiring to purchase £15,000 worth of timber in Cardiff or Bristol has to effect the purchase through six merchants who have no knowledge of the timber and who only collect the cheque from the purchaser and apply for dock orders, for which they receive over £2,200 as commission?

Mr. Morrison

That is another question, which I cannot answer without notice, but I think that abolishing the organisation which exists and setting up another in these critical days would be a most unwise step.

Mr. Leonard

Does not the right hon. Gentleman realise that all that is required is to give area officers the right to issue invoices and accept cheques?

Mr. Morrison

I am not sure that that is so; in any case I am answering the Question on the Paper, which involves the abolition of the existing organisation and the substitution of another system, which would delay production.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is grave disquiet about the Timber Control Board?

Mr. Morrison

That is another question, too, but if any information is sent to me on points of criticism, I shall be glad to have them examined.

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