HC Deb 07 February 1956 vol 548 cc1487-8
20. Mr. Langford-Holt

asked the President of the Board of Trade, in view of the fact that Austria has agreed with another country to supply 4,000 tons of newsprint, what supplies are made to the United Kingdom from Austria; and what steps he will now take to increase this amount.

Mr. Walker-Smith

Imports of newsprint are on private account. Last year, imports from Austria were just under 4,000 tons, but this year should be around 5,000 tons. I am assured that every effort is being made to purchase more newsprint from all overseas markets, but world supplies are far short of demand.

Mr. Langford-Holt

Is my hon. and learned Friend aware that from his own Department's Trade and Navigation Account it appears that in the year 1955 a great deal less newsprint was imported from Austria while a great deal more was imported from the United States? Can he say why this arises?

Mr. Walker-Smith

My hon. Friend will appreciate that these matters are governed by commercial considerations because, as I have already stated, the purchase is on private account. I would point out, however, that the amount from Austria is increasing beyond the low figure to which my hon. Friend referred.

Lieut-Colonel Lipton

If the considerations are, as the hon. and learned Gentleman says, purely commercial, why are the Government still exercising control over newsprint?

Mr. Walker-Smith

That raises wider issues than the Question of my hon. Friend, which quite clearly is restricted to newsprint from Austria.