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Volume 886: debated on Thursday 20 February 1975

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what plans he has with regard to the future scale of activities of the Forestry Commission; and if he will make a statement.

As I explained to my hon. Friend the Member for Don Valley (Mr. Kelley) on 5th July 1974—[Vol. 876, c. 288–90.]—our plans for forestry generally are built upon the revised policy framework which was announced by the previous administration on 24th October 1973.—[Vol. 861, c. 517–19.] This included provision for the Forestry Commission's own operation.


asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what proportion the private forestry sector of the British forestry industry produces of (a) soft woods and (b) hard woods; what this represents in terms of saving to the balance of payments; and if he is satisfied that the capital transfer tax proposals will encourage the further expansion of this industry.

It is estimated that in 1974 the private sector of the forestry industry produced about 35 per cent. of home-grown softwood and about 95 per cent. of home-grown hardwood. The value, at the forest gate, was roughly £35 million. The value of imports required to replace this production would be much higher since timber products are imported in more finished forms. An assessment of the effect of capital transfer tax on the industry must await further consideration of the scheme outlined by my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury in Standing Committee on 5th February.