HC Deb 27 April 1953 vol 514 cc1734-5
12. Major Anstruther-Gray

asked the Minister of Materials to what extent his Department is assisting by stockpiling or in other ways, in the disposal of homegrown timber blown down in the recent gales.

The Minister of Materials (Sir Arthur Salter)

I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to my reply to a Question from the hon. and learned Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hector Hughes) on 20th April as to the special licensing measures designed to assist the disposal of home-grown timber and to the statement made on 19th February by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland as to stockpiling. The purchases by the Railway Executive will substantially affect the problem of blown timber for the stockpile. I propose, therefore, to make a statement on this question in the autumn.

13. Captain Duncan

asked the Minister of Materials the Government's policy regarding a national stockpile of timber and the level at which the present stock is to be maintained.

Sir A. Salter

It is the policy of the Government to hold a reserve of timber, well distributed over the country, which would be available, in addition to stocks held by the trade, in any emergency in order to save shipping space, on which timber imports make heavy demands. In the national interest the level of strategic reserves is not disclosed.

Captain Duncan

Is my right hon. Friend taking note of the amount of timber now available and becoming available in Scotland? Will he do what he can to sustain the market for homegrown timber by using the resources at his disposal to stockpile some of this Scottish timber?

Sir A. Salter

Yes, Sir. I am looking at the situation carefully, but my hon. and gallant Friend will realise from my answer to the previous Question that the purchases now being made by the Railway Executive have a very great influence on the whole of the problem to which he refers.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

In view of the right hon. Gentleman's former reply, that he proposed to make a statement in the autumn, may we take it that his Ministry will be permitted to continue until that date?