HC Deb 19 October 1950 vol 478 cc2197-8
1. Wing Commander Bullus

asked the President of the Board of Trade what is now the average monthly collection of waste paper from local authorities; and whether he is satisfied that the present amount collected is sufficient to maintain full stocks at the pulping factories.

The President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Harold Wilson)

Statistics of collection are no longer available, but the mills' receipts of mixed waste paper of the type normally collected by local authorities have averaged 10,700 tons a week from all domestic sources during the three months June/August of this year. Stocks rose slightly during this period, owing to reduced activity during the holidays and the arrival of a small quantity of imported material.

Unless collections can be stimulated, I have no doubt that mills' stocks, which are already low, will decline further during the winter months. I hope that this will be prevented by the recent increase in waste paper prices and other arrangements which I understand the mills are now considering.

Wing Commander Bullus

In view of the shortage of newsprint, which must ever be the responsibility of the Minister concerned and of the Government, and the rising prices of imported pulp, would the Minister himself bring about the stimulation which is necessary to get maximum waste paper salvage in this country?

Mr. Wilson

The hon. and gallant Member will realise that this collection of waste paper has virtually no relevance to the newsprint situation at all. So far as collection is concerned, this was suspended by many local authorities when there was a temporary surplus of paper and the prices paid by the mills were so very low. These have now been increasing.

Mr. Nabarro

Can the right hon. Gentleman say what percentage of all local authorities in the United Kingdom now have active schemes for the collection of salvage paper?

Mr. Wilson

Not without notice.

Mr. Shepherd

Is the right hon. Gentleman maintaining the department dealing with the collection of waste paper? If so, is it still at its normal level of activity?

Mr. Wilson

No, Sir. The department dealing with this is at a much reduced level of staffing owing to the handing back of a good deal of the responsibility for this to the private trade.