HC Deb 07 July 1952 vol 503 cc899-900
51. Major Anstruther-Gray

asked the Secretary for Overseas Trade, as representing the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, whether he is aware that a number of county councils in Scotland, having organised the collection of waste paper on efficient lines, still find themselves unable to dispose of it; and if he will make arrangements to store this paper centrally until it can be absorbed by the mills.

The Secretary for Overseas Trade (Mr. H. R. Mackeson)

Yes, Sir. I am aware of these difficulties. The trade has gone carefully into this question of storage in consultation with the Ministry of Materials and representatives of local authorities, but I regret to say that the cost, including transport, handling in and out of store, and insurance against fire has been found to be prohibitive.

Major Anstruther-Gray

Is it not very disappointing that all the energy behind this salvage drive should be wasted? Could not my hon. Friend look into the possibility of exporting this waste paper so that some advantage may be derived from it?

Mr. Mackeson

The trouble is that the paper mils, who have already made the fullest use of storage space available to them, now have a record quantity of over 128,000 tons in store, whereas the consumption of cardboard for the manufacture of which waste paper is chiefly used has fallen. Arrangements are being made so that the reduced purchases will be spread with a view to relieving the county councils of Scotland concerned from the embarrassment they are now suffering.

Mr. Nabarro

Is my hon. Friend aware that in the period of extreme stringency—between 1946 and 1950—this country lost a very valuable export trade in this commodity? Does not he agree that it is an export trade which we ought now to be trying to get back, and will he examine that particular aspect of this problem?

Mr. Mackeson

Yes, I will certainly look at it.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Does that answer mean that the local authorities are not to be encouraged as much in future to organise waste paper collections as they were in the past? Does it mean that they are to be deterred from building up stocks of waste paper?

Mr. Mackeson

No, Sir. We do not wish to discourage local authorities, but there has been an exceptionally satisfactory drive. Arrangements will be made by the mills to get in touch with the local authorities and indicate how much can be accepted. At the moment there is more in store than can be used, and since 1951 more has been collected than the machines can handle.