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Volume 437: debated on Thursday 22 May 1947

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30 and 31.

asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) whether he will state the amount of Cellophane exported from this country during the years 1946 and 1947, respectively; and

(2) whether he is aware that Cellophane is practically unobtainable in this country; that it is urgently needed as a wrapper for certain horticultural products; and what steps he proposes to take to improve the position.

Cellulose film production has been substantially increased since the end of the war in order to develop our export trade, and the quantity exported in 1946 was 4,900 tons and, in the first quarter of 1947, 1,500 tons. Up to 40 per cent. of the total production is available for home requirements but, in view of the need to encourage this valuable export, I should not be prepared to increase this. If the hon. Member will give me details of the materials to which he refers for which cellulose film is an essential wrapping, I will make inquiries to see if supplies can be made available out of the quantity at present provided for home requirement.

Is the Minister aware that the large and increasing quantities of Cellophane which are going abroad, as he said, go very largely to horticultural producers in other countries who send back their produce to this country in our own material, and that we cannot compete because we have not got the proper containers?

If the hon. and learned Gentleman will let me have the information he has in mind, I will see what can be done.