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Volume 928: debated on Wednesday 23 March 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will take steps to reduce the import bill of £2,000 million currently being spent on timber.

The import bill for timber and timber products in 1976 was £1,940 million. Of this total, £827 million represented imports of timber—i.e., softwood, hardwood, plywood, particle board; and some simply worked wood. Timber is an international commodity in which the United Kingdom is not self-sufficient, and the price of which is set by world supply and demand. The Waste Management Advisory Council is considering ways of increasing the use of waste paper, which would reduce our dependence on imported wood pulp. The £23 million waste paper scheme announced by the Government on 5th June 1976 has in part the same objective.