§ 4. Mr. Charles Morrison
asked the Postmaster-General what is the annual expenditure on timber for telegraph poles; and what proportion of the timber is imported.
§ The Assistant Postmaster-General (Mr. Joseph Slater)
The annual expenditure in recent years has averaged about £½ million. About 90 per cent. of the poles are imported.
§ Mr. Morrison
Would not the hon. Gentleman agree that, with the huge area of the forestry plantation now coming to fruition, there might be increased scope for using still more home-grown timber for telegraph poles?
§ Mr. Slater
I have every sympathy with that suggestion. However, we seek competitive tenders for all supplies. The prices of home-grown and imported timber are about the same. But when prices for imported timber are lower than prices for home-grown, we normally offer the home growers contracts for the most they can supply at the import price level.
§ Mr. Manuel
What information has my hon. Friend secured about felling operations by the Forestry Commission over the next ten years, for instance? What proportion of that timber will be suitable for telegraph poles?