HL Deb 01 May 1947 vol 147 cc368-9WA

asked His Majesty's Government if they will state for each of the years 1925, 1930, 1935, 1940, 1944, 1945 and 1946, the average planting costs per acre of the Forestry Commission, itemizing fencing, draining, scrub-clearing, and all costs of labour and material involved, including direct supervision, but excluding all the Forestry Commission's overhead expenses, cost of land, and subsequent "beating up" of planted areas.


The average costs per

1925. 1930. 1935.
Preparation of ground 18/- 17/- 14/-
Draining 10/6 18/6 16/6
Fencing 22/6 20/6 19/-
Planting—plants 55/6 51/- 56/-
labour, etc. 27/- 29/- 30/-
Miscellaneous expenses (e.g. repairs to and depreciation of tools, workmen's compensation, holidays, etc.) 9/6 6/6 7/6
Local supervision 7/- 9/6 10/6
150/- 152/6 153/6

Owing to shortage of staff, detailed cost records were discontinued at the time of Dunkirk. They are now being re-established but complete costs are not available and the following approximate figures are

1925. 1930. 1935. 1944. 1945. 1946.
Preparation of ground per acre 18/- 17/- 14/- 52/6 58/- 62/-
Draining per chain 4/3 3/- 2/6 4/- 4/- 5/6
Fencing per chain 21/6 20/- 18/6 28/6 39/- 39/-
Planting (excl. plants) per acre 271- 29/6 30/- 51/- 54/6 60/6

None.—Causes of the rise in costs are as follows: Rise in wages: The average weekly rate was about 37s. in 1935 as compared with about 82s. 6d. in 1946. Ploughing for planting: The practice of ploughing for planting and use of machinery for this purpose has greatly increased in recent years, which has had the effect of keeping down the cost of draining. In earlier years what ploughing there was, was charged to Planting—labour, whereas it is now charged to Preparation of ground. This is one reason why Preparation of ground has increased proportionately more than Planting. In this connexion it should be borne in mind that, against the increased costs now being incurred on Preparation by reason of ploughing, there will be considerable savings in maintenance expenses in future years.