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Imported Timber (Monopolies Commission Recommendation)

Volume 526: debated on Monday 12 April 1954

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asked the Minister of State, Board of Trade, as representing the Minister of Materials, if he will make a statement on the report of the Monopolies Commission on imported timber and as to the steps he is taking to deal with the Commissioner's report that the agreements and undertakings by traders to deal only with each other are contrary to the public interest.

Following discussions with my noble Friend the Minister of Materials, the constituent sections of the Timber Trade Federation of the United Kingdom have now decided to abrogate the agreements and undertakings by traders on the "Approved Lists" to deal only with each other—thus giving effect to the recommendation of the Monopolies Commission.

I am sure that most people will be glad to hear what the Minister has said and will hope that the arrangement will work effectively, but can he say whether he anticipates a reduction in the price of timber, in view of its importance, especially to the housing programme?

I am sure that the timber traders will have to make sure that they sell timber at competitive prices, because they have to get back the position which they lost, to some extent, to substitute materials. I have every hope that that fact will ensure that timber is sold at competitive prices.