HC Deb 13 June 1945 vol 411 cc1654-5
59. Mr. Wootton-Davies

asked the Minister of Supply why manufactured paper is to be imported from Sweden; and if he will consider instead making paper from materials at present in this country or importing the raw material.

The Minister of Supply (Sir Andrew Duncan)

Our first endeavour is to secure supplies of materials to enable production in this country to be increased to the maximum extent, but it is also necessary to take the opportunity of importing certain quantities of paper to supplement home production.

Mr. Wootton-Davies

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that this is the thin end of the wedge? We want work in this country not imported manufactured materials.

Sir Arthur Reed

Is the Minister aware that paper mills, through restriction of raw materials, have only been working up to 15 to 50 per cent. of their output during the war, and that there are hundreds of thousands of tons of wood pulp in Sweden ready to be shipped? Why does the Minister want to ship paper instead of the raw material?

Sir A. Duncan

We have made contracts and arrangements for shipping the pulp from Sweden, and as soon as shipping facilities are available the pulp will be shipped.

Sir William Wayland

Is it not a fact that farmers find great difficulty in selling their straw for the purpose of making paper?

Sir A. Duncan

No, Sir, it is not possible to make use of all that is available.

Mr. Gallacher

Will the Minister take note, and pass the information to the Prime Minister, that his supporters want State interference and State control?

Mr. Hammersley

Is it not a fact that there are a large number of industries in this country which require manufactured paper, and which have not been able to work at full capacity for many years; and will the Minister remember that it will help the provision of civilian requirements if we get this manufactured paper in quickly?

Sir A. Duncan

It is because of the need for getting this paper in quickly that we are importing now.