Addressing members and guests at the annual dinner of the National Panel Products Division of the UK Timber Trade Federation, Chairman Bob Harvey said: “It’s tough out there,referring to the economic situation. “Our industry has been remarkably resilient but if the Eurozone crisis is not resolved, the UK will inevitably suffer.”

On the vexed subject of biomass, Mr Harvey called for government action, saying it must “level the playing fieldwith regard to subsidies.

“Burning virgin timber can’t be a long-term solution to our energy needs,he said.

Referring to the government’s withdrawal of funding for the Timber Resource Efficiency Partnership, the chairman said he would like to see the government stimulate growth, particularly in the construction sector, and suggested that changes could be made to VAT, other taxation or stamp duty.

“The coalition is so paranoid about the overspending of the last government, it is doing nothing. It needs to encourage [growth] and stop blaming the last government,he asserted.

Chris Sutton will take over the chair of the NPPD for the next year as Mr Harvey stands down after two years in the post.