§ Sir ARCHIBALD WILLIAMSON
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Munitions if his attention has been directed to the large quantities of lumber which the Government and railway companies are purchasing from abroad for importation into this country; whether facilities, including labour at the ports, are adequate for handling and storing these large consignments which will arrive almost at the same time; and whether the shipments can be more spread?
§ Mr. BRIDGEMAN
I have been asked to reply to this question. Purchases abroad by the Timber Supplies Department have ceased, the control of timber (other than pitwood) having terminated at the end of March last, but outstanding purchases made for reconstruction purposes have still to come in. On account of the scarcity of tonnage it is necessary to take advantage of the shipping opportunities available, but so far as possible shipments are regulated so as to avoid congestion, though there is a scarcity of suitable labour. This reply covers sleepers and crossing timbers bought by the Controller of the Timber Supplies Department for the Railway Committee, but I cannot speak for timber bought by individual railway companies independently of the Controller.