HC Deb 04 March 1946 vol 420 cc4-5
11. Mr. Boothby

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that many schemes for rural electrification in Scotland are being held up by shortages of materials and, in particular, of suitable poles; and what steps he is taking to deal with this problem.

Sir S. Cripps

I am aware of the shortage of poles, and, while further supplies will be obtained as soon as possible, they are bound to be restricted. My Department are working in close touch with the Electricity Commissioners and other Departments concerned, with a view to the best use being made of the supplies available.

Mr. Baldwin

Is the Minister aware that the shortage applies to England, as well as Scotland, and will he consider the importation of suitable poles from Germany, where they are available in plenty?

Sir S. Cripps

We are considering the importation of as much timber as possible from Germany.

Mr. Hector Hughes

Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that the supplies of these materials are more freely available in England than in Scotland, and will he see that this lack of balance is rectified?

Sir S. Cripps

I am not aware of any lack of balance.

Colonel Ropner

Will the Minister say for what purpose the Forestry Commission's timber is being conserved, if it is not to meet an emergency of this sort?

Sir S. Cripps

At present, there is not that degree of emergency which would require us to cut more immature timber, nor could we get the necessary poles from the Forestry Commission's holdings.

Mr. Boothby

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply just given to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Barkston Ash (Colonel Ropner), I beg to give notice that I will raise this matter on the Adjournment at the first opportunity.

Mr. Gallacher

There is no shortage of Poles in Scotland.