The timber industry has gained a forum in the heart of the political arena with the launch of a new All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG).
Already 40 Parliamentarians have registered as members of the APPG for Timber Industries, which held its AGM earlier this week at the House of Commons.
Ian Paisley, MP for North Antrim (Democratic Unionists), was elected as chairman.
He now chairs an officers group including joint vice chairman and former minister Cheryl Gillan, MP for Chesham and Amersham (Conservatives); joint vice chairman Stephen Hepburn, MP for Jarrow (Labour); treasurer Steven Paterson, MP for Stirling (SNP); and secretary Stephen McPartland MP for Stevenage and chair of the furniture APPG (Conservatives).
“I am delighted to have been elected by my colleagues in both Houses. I am looking forward to chairing this new group which has already received cross-party support in the Commons and the Lords,” said Paisley. “My colleagues will endeavour to promote the use of timber UK wide but will also look forward to hearing how they could support timber businesses in their constituencies in particular.”
Timber Industries contribute substantially to the UK construction and manufacturing Industries, providing around 150,000 jobs across the skills spectrum and adding value of around £20bn to the UK economy.
The APPG will help promote timber as the most sustainable and renewable building material and develop new economic measures to grow the whole timber industries supply chain. The members of the new cross-party group also want to encourage more young people to choose a career in the timber industries.
“We are pleased that Ian and his fellow officers have put together a strong all-party group of parliamentary colleagues who will actively support the timber industries. We have been asked by Ian to provide the secretarial support for the group and are happy to provide assistance and information where we can,” said Peter Hindle MBE, chairman of the Confederation of Timber Industries (CTI).
In total 42 parliamentarians (37 MPs and five peers) have already expressed an interest in the new APPG, including 25 Conservatives, nine Labour, three SNP, two DUP, one SDLP, one UUP and one Liberal Democrat. In total there are 32 parliamentarians from England, four from Northern Ireland, four from Scotland and two from Wales.