HC Deb 12 May 1949 vol 464 cc1977-8
6. Mr. Hurd

asked the President of the Board of Trade for an estimate of what loss would be involved if he released for current use at the present market price the Government stock of wood pulp for the production of all descriptions of paper.

Mr. J. Edwards

It would not be in accord with normal practice to give this information.

Mr. Hurd

Would it be very far wide of the mark to say that altogether the figure is about £3 million; could the Parliamentary Secretary tell us whether further purchases are being made on contract to build up more stocks; and when will he be able to tell the paper trade as a whole that they will be free to go ahead and make their own contracts at market prices?

Mr. Edwards

I make no comment on the first statement. I would ask the hon. Gentleman to put down a Question on the second.

Mr. William Shepherd

Does the hon. Gentleman's answer imply that the Department is committed to further bulk buying on a falling market?

Mr. Edwards

It implies nothing of the kind. I ask that that question also should be put down.

Mr. Walter Fletcher

In view of the fact that the majority of this pulp is of Finnish origin, does it not go against the Government's plans for trade with Canada that this stock should be overhanging the market?