§ LORD DONALDSON OF KINGS-BRIDGE
My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will consider extending the availability of the transport allowance for wind-blown timber for a further three months from March 31 1970, in view of the fact that it was introduced specifically to aid growers who had suffered from the gale of January, 1968; that 11 per cent is expected to remain uncleared by March 31; and that the growers who have had most difficulty in effecting clearance are probably those in most need of help.]
§ THE MINISTER OF STATE, SCOTTISH OFFICE (LORD HUGHES)
My Lords, the transport allowance was provided because normal markets in the area of the windblow could not absorb the exceptionally large quantity of timber blown down. It is the view of Her Majesty's Government that the quantity of timber likely to remain uncleared at the end of March will be small enough to be absorbed by the customary markets, and that the need for a transport allowance will no longer exist.
§ LORD DONALDSON OF KINGSBRIDGE
My Lords, while thanking my noble friend for his reply, may I ask whether he does not see this as yet another instance of channelling aid to the primary producer—to those who need it least—and leaving out those who need it most?
§ LORD HUGHES
My Lords, while I might plead Biblical support for that doctrine, I do not intend to do so. This provision was not designed as a means of helping the more difficultly placed producers to market their products. It was something designed to enable this timber to go to markets to which it would not normally go. There is therefore no case for turning it into exceptional aid for those who are exceptionally needy.