HC Deb 04 February 1947 vol 432 cc311-2W
63. Mr. Henderson Stewart

asked the President of the Board of Trade at what date he became aware that timber supplies for new housing were likely to be less than had previously bean anticipated; upon what basis and from what sources of supplies his earlier estimates had been formed; what steps had been taken previous to that date to obtain timber; what was the cause of the unexpected cut in supplies; and what action he is now taking to increase supplies.

Mr. Belcher

Prospects of obtaining supplies of timber from overseas to meet our essential requirements gradually deteriorated in the course of 1946, and, in particular, it became clear by the summer that the lumbermen's strike in Canada and the economic situation in the British zone in Germany would seriously affect shipments from the countries concerned. Moreover, our attempts to obtain substantial quantities from U.S.S.R. met with no success. All interested Government Departments were kept continuously informed of developments and the hon. Member may be assured that we have been, and are, taking all steps possible to secure increased supplies. As I have already pointed out, these largely depend in some cases, on the quantity of goods we ourselves are able to export to the main supplying countries.