HC Deb 15 April 1948 vol 449 cc1144-5
17. Sir W. Smithers

asked the President of the Board of Trade what is, by regions, the stock of soft wood timber in the country; if export industries are receiving their requirements; what is the average monthly release of timber for housing; and what are the limiting factors to prevent the increase of the present allocation for housing by 150,000 standards.

Mr. H. Wilson

Stocks of hewn and sawn softwood—excluding sleepers and certain stocks in consumers hands—by regions, as at the end of January last, were approximately as follows:

North Eastern 79,846
North Western 77,565
Midland 75,129
South Eastern 184,355
Western 63,668
Northern Ireland 11,174
Scotland 52,321
So far as I am aware the essential timber needs of the export industries are being met. As regards the third part of the Question, I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given him by my hon. Friend the Economic Secretary to the Treasury on Tuesday last. As regards the last part of the Question, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. and gallant Member for East Grinstead (Colonel Clarke) on 6th November last by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Sir W. Smithers

Is the President of the Board of Trade aware, and will he consult his right hon. Friend the Minister of Health, that if the Government ceased production of non-traditional houses, and concentrated on traditional houses, there would be an enormous saving of steel and timber?

Mr. Wilson

No, Sir, I am not aware of anything of the kind, and I am in close and almost permanent consultation with my right hon. Frend.

Colonel Stoddart-Scott

Is the amount of timber in this country an increase on this time last year, or a reduction?

Mr. Wilson

A very considerable increase.

Mr. Harrison

Can my right hon. Friend make a comparison between the stocks held prior to the war, and stocks held today.

Mr. Wilson

I should want notice of that. I am not sure how complete the figures were before the war. My impression is that stocks at present are considerably above, about double a year ago, and are somewhat less than they were before the war.