HC Deb 16 May 1950 vol 475 c1012
75. Mr. Bossom

asked the President of the Board of Trade when the negotiations with Sweden for the import of softwood for housing and so forth will be concluded; and when his Mission to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics will be able to report on their negotiations for softwood.

Mr. Bottomley

Some contracts have already been made for Swedish softwood, and negotiations will continue with individual shippers who wish to offer timber. The Timber Controller and his colleagues are not leaving for Russia until this week, and I cannot say when their discussions will be concluded.

Mr. Bossom

Is not the Minister aware that in the past all these timber negotiations—probably for the last 50 years—have been started in November? Here we are starting them in May. How can we expect to get the timber we need for housing in time?

Mr. Bottomley

As a matter of fact most of the timber was already settled in the case of Russia, and is coming in. These are earlier talks than usual.

Mr. Vane

Can the hon. Gentleman say what is the total quantity of timber in respect of which contracts have been entered into this week?

Mr. Bottomley

No, Sir.