HC Deb 21 May 1941 vol 371 cc1540-1
17 and 18. Mr. Wootton-Davies

asked the Minister of Agriculture (1) whether he can give some explanation of the bottleneck which prevents straw being supplied to paper-makers at the present time;

(2) what supplies of straw there are in the country at the present time which could be used for the production of paper, alcohol or yeast?

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture (Mr. T. Williams)

Stocks of straw on farms are normally low in the spring and summer months, and, while increased quantities of straw were available from the 1940 harvest, much larger supplies, particularly of oat straw, have been required for animal feeding. The amounts of straw, available for industrial use are therefore likely to be small until the next harvest. As indicated, however, in reply to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Howdenshire (Colonel Carver) on 13th May, the Papermakers' Straw Trading Company are being assisted to secure available supplies of wheat and barley straw. I am not aware of any demand for straw for the production of alcohol or yeast.

Mr. Wootton-Davies

Is it not a fact that large quantities of straw would be available if there were adequate trading arrangements, and will the hon. Gentleman bear this in mind for the next harvest?

Mr. Williams

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Mathers

Is my hon. Friend not satisfied that straw is being held up against a possible increase in price, and that paper-makers are thereby being kept out of employment and paper supplies are kept short?

Mr. Williams

We have no information to that effect. If my hon. Friend will supply us with such information, we will gladly look into it.

Sir J. Lamb

Is it not a fact that some straw is being held up because there is a fear that there will be little hay in the next harvest?