Mr Henry Strauss: In the current year the cost of holding the stockpile of timber is estimated at £480,000. Softwood is turned over periodically and the prices obtained on sale are estimated as not more than 10 per cent. below the prices paid for replacement.
Mr Henry Strauss: My hon. Friend will appreciate that my answer gave him only statistical information. The question of policy is different.
Mr Henry Strauss: Nothing can be deduced from the answer except the statistical information which was asked for and given.
Mr Henry Strauss: The Monopolies Commission's existing inquiry under Section 15 of the 1948 Act has a close bearing on these matters, and it is advisable to await its report.
Mr Henry Strauss: That is a matter of opinion.
Mr Henry Strauss: I have little doubt that the Commission was given the assistance it required in its existing inquiry under Section 15 of the Monopolies and Restrictive Practices Act, 1948.
Mr Henry Strauss: The undertaking given to my right hon. Friend the then Minister of Supply followed the Report of the Monopolies Commission into the supply of electric lamps. The Commission is now considering the general effect of such practices on the public interest, and we await its report.
Mr Henry Strauss: No, the hon. Gentleman is mistaken about the effect of the Act. The Commission's recommendation on the supply of particular goods does not enable action to be taken on a similar practice applying to goods into which the Commission has not conducted an investigation. But the present examination which it is making under Section 15 of the Act may deal with the practice generally.
Mr Henry Strauss: The hon. Gentleman cannot have understood my answer to his hon. Friend. It cannot be deduced, from the fact that the Commission has made a particular finding in any one inquiry, that it would necessarily think that the same applied in relation to the supply of different goods.
Mr Henry Strauss: We will encourage industrial development in this area whenever opportunity offers.
Mr Henry Strauss: The hon. Gentleman is aware that a good deal of new industry has been introduced into this area, but I share his desire that further industry should be introduced.
Mr Henry Strauss: Yes, Sir. Since the answer is long, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
Mr Henry Strauss: It is not proposed to make a Development Area, but, for the rest, I would ask the hon. Gentleman to be good enough to study the answer.
Mr Henry Strauss: That is dealt with in the answer.
Mr Henry Strauss: No, Sir.
Mr Henry Strauss: My hon. and gallant Friend will appreciate that was only dealing with the monopoly aspect. The conditions to which the 1948 Act applies are not satisfied in the case of these Institutes, but if my hon. and gallant Friend wishes to put any further Questions on the subject, he should address them to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence.
Mr Henry Strauss: I do not agree with the hon. Member that the quality of these goods has deteriorated. With regard to the second part of the Question, I would refer him to the answer that my right hon. Friend gave on 22nd February to a Question on this subject by the hon. Member for Coventry, South (Miss Burton).
Mr Henry Strauss: I am afraid that my information differs entirely from that of the hon. Gentleman.
Mr Henry Strauss: My right hon. Friend has no powers to intervene, except where the Monopolies Commission has reported that such an arrangement is against the public interest.
Mr Henry Strauss: There is a later Question on that subject on the Order Paper.