HC Deb 08 December 1949 vol 470 cc2063-4
22. Mr. John E. Haire

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the programme for home timber production in 1950.

Mr. H. Wilson

Yes, Sir. The types of timber which comprise the great bulk of home production are hardwood and pit-wood. I am glad to say that the improvement in the import prospects has enabled us to make further progress towards bringing the felling of our timber into line with the annual increment of growth. Felling in 1949 was limited to 75 per cent. of the hardwood and 50 per cent. of the softwood felled in 1947; and a further reduction of 20 per cent. from the 1949 level has been agreed for all home felling in 1950. From 1st January next, the Forestry Commission will issue all licences to fell.

Mr. Haire

Is this increase likely to lead to the removal of controls on the use of softwood, and will it lead to an improvement in the supply position of softwood for housing?

Mr. Wilson

I have made it clear that this was not an increase in felling but a decrease, and that it was principally hardwood and pitwood supplies that were affected. The softwood position still remains extremely difficult.

Colonel Ropner

Can further consideration be given to paying to the home producer the same price as is being paid to the foreign producer?

Mr. Wilson

The control on the price of homegrown timber has been removed with effect from 1st December last.

Earl Winterton

Would the right hon. Gentleman say whether these regulations also apply to the Forestry Commission, and has there been the fullest consultation between his Department and the Head of the Forestry Commission as to whether it is a proper economic proposition?

Mr. Wilson

Yes, there has been the fullest co-operation and, as I have made clear, control over felling will now be exercised by the Forestry Commission so that felling can be related to the forestry needs of the country.