HC Deb 20 April 1950 vol 474 cc326-7

The following Question stood on the Order Paper in the name of MR. JOHN GRIMSTON:

77. To ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies what steps he is taking to grade and make known the suitability for various uses, particularly housing, of the new types of hardwood likely to be imported from Honduras and Guiana.

Mr. Speaker

As the Minister is not present, this Question will be answered after the first Private Notice Question.


The Lord President of the Council (Mr. Herbert Morrison)

I have been asked to reply.

The Forest Products Research Laboratory are doing much useful work on a variety of questions relating to the suitability of colonial timbers for the United Kingdom market and in bringing these timbers to the notice of the trade. Neither British Honduras nor British Guiana produce in appreciable quantities hardwood suitable for use in housing.

Mr. Grimston

While thanking the right hon. Gentleman for that reply, and hoping that I have not caused him any embarrassment, may I ask if he is aware that last year over 98 per cent. of our railway sleepers were imported from dollar countries, that the trees most plentiful in British Guiana are eminently suitable for the purpose, and that if this source of supply is developed a great saving of dollars will be effected?

Mr. Morrison

I will certainly see that that is conveyed to my right hon. Friend.

Mr. Oliver Stanley

Would it not have been possible for the Secretary of State for the Colonies, at the time that he asked the Lord President of the Council to reply to this Question, to have given him the full information with which to do so?

Mr. Morrison

I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that my right hon. Friend did his very best to do so, and that I have it before me. Not being quick enough in the up-take, I have not absorbed it so far.

Mr. Peter Smithers

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that research of the nature indicated in the Question is being undertaken by the Venezuelan Government in comparable territory, and will he arrange for them to make available to the Colonial Office the results of their researches?

Mr. Morrison

I will convey that to my right hon. Friend.