HC Deb 27 May 1952 vol 501 c1140
29. Mr. P. Roberts

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that certain firms in the British Isles who are making woodflour at the moment are having to shut down owing to the continued importation of foreign woodflour; and whether he will take steps to prevent the importation of this product so long as there are supplies undisposed of in this country, thereby helping the balance of payments problem.

Mr. H. Strauss

I am aware that certain firms in this country which produce wood-flour have recently had to close, but I do not think that this is attributable to imports. The foreign woodflour is of a quality essential for the manufacture of certain exports, and it would not be to the public interest to restrict our imports.

Mr. Roberts

Is my hon. and learned Friend aware that we are spending over a third of £1 million a year on importing this material, which is really waste material, that this waste material is available in this country, and that the trade would be prepared to make it suitable for such uses as he mentions? Will he look into this matter and see whether we can get some help here to the solution of our dollar problem?

Mr. Strauss

I will certainly consider what my hon. Friend says, but these imports are at present considered absolutely necessary for certain exports we are making.

Mr. J. E. Crowder

is flour now the same thing as sawdust?

Mr. Strauss

The industry making the most use of these imports is the plastics industry.