HC Deb 19 June 1941 vol 372 cc822-3
66. Mr. T. Smith

asked the Minister of Supply whether he will have inquiry made as to the delay that took place in removing imported pit timber from certain ports?

Mr. Harold Macmillan

During the last few weeks large quantities of pit timber have been removed from the ports. Difficulties were experienced at certain ports, but these have been quickly overcome and the dispersal is now completed.

Mr. Smith

Does the hon. Gentleman appreciate that this Question deals with the difficulties before a certain incident occurred, and if there had been one-tenth of the speed in getting the timber away from the ports before that occurrence, thousands of standards of good pit timber would have been saved? Will he have an inquiry made into why it took place?

Mr. Macmillan

The difficulties to which my hon. Friend refers have been largely removed, and I think it would be disheartening to the Department if we were to be blamed for curing mistakes as for having made them.

Mr. Smith

Will the hon. Gentleman appreciate that my desire for an inquiry is not as to what has happened since a certain occurrence, but what happened before? Is he aware that there was wrangling for about 15 months over the price of stacking timber, plus the fact that a certain price was offered which was not accepted, and will he inquire into why the timber was left at the port so long?

Mr. Macmillan

I will look into it further.

Captain Lyons

Does not my hon. Friend use the compulsory powers he has with regard to timber and everything else?