§ 34. Mr. Nabarro
asked the President of the Board of Trade the anticipated total imports of softwoods, excluding plywood and pitwood, during the calendar year 1951; the percentage and quantity of such imports which will be imported on public account by the Timber Control Department of the Board of Trade; the percentage and quantity of softwood imports on private account; and whether he is satisfied that total softwood imports for 1951 will be adequate for commercial and domestic consumption needs, and the requirements of stockpiling.
§ Mr. Bottomley
I cannot give an exact forecast of imports in 1951. Imports by Timber Control and by private trade in 1951 will probably represent about two-thirds and one-third respectively of our total imports, though the actual proportion will, of course, depend on contracts that may yet be made and the fulfilment of contracts already made both by Timber Control and private traders. The rate of licensing of softwood in the latter part of the year has not yet been determined, but supplies should suffice to meet essential requirements for current consumption.
§ Mr. Nabarro
Can the hon. Gentleman add to that reply by telling us something about the stockpiling position? Does he realise that, in 1939, before the outbreak of the last war, our stocks were one million standards of softwood? Can he 1179 hold out any hope that stocks by the end of 1951, to meet an emergency, will equal that figure?
§ Mr. Bottomley
I can certainly say that in 1951 our timber position will be better than in 1950 if private traders will buy all they can in Scandinavia. The Government are buying all they can in North America at reasonable prices and we are not losing sight of the fact that we can get additional supplies in Russia.