asked the President of the Board of Trade whether the Timber Department established during the War has yet been wound up and closed down; if not, the reason for the delay and what staff is at present employed; and if he can give any date approximately when this Department will be finished with?
The answer to the first part pi the question is in the negative. The Department is engaged in disposing of the remaining stocks and equipment, settling claims, and liquidating outstanding debts; but, owing to adverse trade conditions, the work of winding it up has been delayed. The number of staff at present employed is 109, of whom 15 are under notice of discharge; and, in addition, there is at present an industrial staff numbering 224. It is, anticipated that the work of the Department will substantially be finished during the present year.
Is it really necessary to keep over 300 people employed in disposing of timber which has already been paid for, which is lying on the ground and which will settle itself when trade revives?
The answer to both these supplementary questions is that the situation is constantly under review, and for the moment I can give no better forecast than I have given in reply to the question.