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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will arrange that the Forestry Commission's Annual Reports shall in future include a set of accounts prepared in commercial form in order that the economic return on the investment in growing timber, apart from the cost of research and the advisory services, can be assessed.
A commercial account of the operations of the Commission, in a form suitable for a forestry enterprise, is published annually in the Trading Accounts and Balance Sheets of Government Departments. As, however, at the present stage of development the bulk of the investment is in the form of young plantations, the ultimate economic return can only be estimated, as my hon. Friend, I know, realises.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that the trading account to which he referred does not really meet my Question, and is he further aware that, although the bulk of the plantations are still young, many of the Forestry Commission's large areas are claimed to show a profit on annual working? Ought he really not to look into this again, because it is surely time that a better form of business accounts was published annually?