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Food Supplies

Volume 393: debated on Wednesday 3 November 1943

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Old Hens (Auction Sales)

60.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he is satisfied that there is adequate control by the Ministry's inspectors over the sale by auction of old hens as stock birds?

No, Sir. Proposals to improve the control are under examination in consultation with the Agricultural Departments.

Milk, West Scotland

61.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food why the public in the West of Scotland were not informed of the cut made in milk supplies to retailers during the week ending 24th October?

No announcement was made of the reduction in the allocation of milk to distributors in the area of the Scottish Milk Marketing Board during the week ending 24th October, as the reduction applied to a limited area and was due to a local shortage which it was hoped to remedy in the subsequent week by transferring supplies from other areas.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the shortage amounted to 26,000 gallons a day and how was it possible for such a shortage to arise without the knowledge of the hon. Gentleman's Department?

I think the hon. Member knows that imports of milk have had to be sent to Scotland in order to satisfy the demand there and it was hoped those imports would be available.

As the hon. Member knows, it was announced on Sunday last that the ordinary allowance would be two pints a week in future.

Batch Bread, Glasgow

62.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he is aware that one firm of bakers in Glasgow is producing an almost white loaf; and why this loaf produced from national flour is produced by only one firm?

I am aware that some of the batch bread produced in Glasgow is of a very light colour, but have no reason to suppose that the terms of the Bread (Control and Maximum Prices) Order, which permit the use of up to 25 per cent. of white flour in batch bread are not being complied with. I am not aware that this bread is baked by only one firm, nor do I know of any reason why this should be the case.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that this Question is based on information from the locality, and is it not a peculiar circumstance that there is only one firm turning out that type of bread?

I am sure the hon. Gentleman knows the peculiar qualities of batch bread which make it rather more nearly white than other classes of bread. I have no reason to believe that only one firm can or does make this type of bread.

Can the hon. Gentleman give me an assurance that he will have the bread analysed?

May I ask the Minister whether the trade is aware of the distinction made between batch bread and other kinds of bread?

I should have thought that the trade, generally, knew the position in regard to batch bread.

Canned Meats (Nominated Firms)

63.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he is aware that Messrs. Woolworth and Company have nominated as suppliers of canned meats under the points banking system firms who never at any time supplied Messrs. Woolworth with goods; that the registration was made without the knowledge or consent of such firms; and will he take steps to cancel the nominations?

This matter is now being investigated. Declarations by firms, however, of the names of their suppliers of points foods for the purposes of the points banking system are in no sense nominations or registrations and do not confer any right to supplies.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that this is a sharp practice which has been indulged in by chain stores and multiple shops since the beginning of control?

Without passing any opinion whether it is sharp practice or not I would point out that it is certainly inconvenient if firms nominate suppliers with whom they are not dealing, and I think this Question and answer will make that sufficiently plain.

Is it not very unfair to the little shopkeepers who cannot get supplies?

Potatoes (Prices)

64.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he will give the prices paid for potatoes during October and the prices to be paid from 1st November in the several zones of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, respectively?

As the price schedules are very long, I am sending my hon. Friend copies of the Statutory Rules and Orders in which they are fully set out. Northern Ireland grower's fixed prices from 1st January, 1944, will be prescribed by an Order to be issued later.

On what basis has the price of Northern Ireland potatoes been fixed at such a low figure, more especially as the people of Ulster cannot understand why the prices fixed should be so much below the prices paid for British potatoes?

National Flour (Rye)

65.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food the percentage of rye in standard flour; and whether he is satisfied that the manufacture of rye flour is properly understood in this country?

The average amount of rye used in National flour this season has so far been less than 1 per cent. The answer to the second part of the Question is "Yes, Sir."

Lost Ration Books

66.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food what percentage of food ration books have been lost by the public during the year to the latest date for which figures are available; what proportion have subsequently been reported as found and returned to the owners or to his Department?

It is estimated that the total number of books reported lost in the rationing year were approximately 0.9 per cent. of the total issue. About 25 per cent. of the total number of books lost were found and returned to the owners without replacements being necessary. A further 5 per cent. were found after duplicate books had been issued.

May I ask the hon. Gentleman whether in checking up on lost ration books, visits are ever made by enforcement officers to see whether applicants have reserve stocks of food in relation to the points which are issued with the ration books; and is it not important that a check should be made in many cases?

I should not have thought that the two processes naturally linked with one another.