HC Deb 05 April 1951 vol 486 cc362-3
19. Mr. Osborne

asked the President of the Board of Trade what official confirmation he has received from the United States Government of their intention to purchase for stockpiling purposes 350,000,000 pounds of wool; what representations he has made to them; and if he will make a statement on the effect of such stockpiling on the cost of clothing.

Mr. H. Wilson

The requirements of wool of the United States and of other countries for all purposes including stockpiling will be among the matters to be considered by the Wool Committee of the International Materials Conference which is meeting at the present time in Washington. In these circumstances, I should prefer not to make any statement on this subject for the present.

Mr. Osborne

While not wishing to embarrass the Minister while negotiations are going on, may I ask whether he has been officially informed by the United States authorities that they intend to stockpile to this extent?

Mr. Wilson

No, Sir, we have had no official intimation to this effect, though information has reached us from usually reliable channels which suggests that there is something in this story.

Mr. Paget

Is not the trouble here that the American Government have not adopted bulk buying and that, in consequence, private buyers have forced up the price?

Mr. Wilson

The world wool problem is not a question of whether it is bulk bought or privately bought, but of how much is being bought.