asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware of the big stocks of waste paper that were accumulated by local authorities before he removed the order to collect it; if householders must destroy their waste paper; if he is aware that waste collecting firms, as for instance in Birmingham, in face of the considerable increase in the importation of wood pulp, are finding it does not pay to handle any but the higher qualities of waste; and what action he is contemplating in this situation.
I would refer the hon. Members to the replies given to my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge (Mr. Symonds) and the hon. Member for Darwen (Mr. Prescott) on 30th June and 18th October, respectively.
Does the right hon. Gentleman think that the relaxation of the Government's attitude in this matter has given people the right idea about the necessity to be careful in this regard; and in this economic crisis is it not more than ever necessary to conserve salvage and make the fullest use of it?
This is principally a reference to paper salvage, and, as I have made clear on previous occasions, the collection of various mixed and unspecified grades of paper has run beyond the capacity of merchants to absorb it.
Surely the right hon. Gentleman is making inquiries as to when the demand is likely to arise again; and can he not in the meantime co-operate with local authorities, wherever possible, to see whether storage facilities can be obtained, so that when the demand does arise again the paper will be available?
As the House knows, the paper situation has eased very considerably in the last few months. The advice we have given local authorities is to keep in close touch with local merchants to see at what rate they will be able to absorb this stock.
Would the right hon. Gentleman consider exploring the possibility of the further use of waste paper, of which there is a great quantity, and the alternative uses for which might well be a matter for inquiry in his Department?
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that some local authorities are told by merchants that the reason the salvage is not wanted is because of the importation of wood pulp and paper-making material; and is he quite certain that we cannot make further savings in imports by the fuller use of paper salvage?
The pulp and wood pulp that is coming into the country is coming from soft currency sources. Indeed, for the most part I am having to resist pressure by the countries concerned for us to take larger quantities of the pulp and wood pulp.