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Austria (Food Demonstration)

Volume 437: debated on Wednesday 21 May 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been called to the recent demonstration of io,000 workers in Vienna who went on strike because of the shortage of food and what steps are being taken to improve the position.

This demonstration was ostensibly against short rations of potatoes and meat which Austrian farmers have failed to deliver in sufficient quantities. The Austrian Marketing Association for potatoes has recently been strengthened but the restoration of the full potato ration is not expected until after the next harvest, as a considerable part of last year's crop has by now been used up irregularly. As for meat, low controlled prices have led to evasion of slaughtering instructions by farmers. As an immediate remedy the Austrian Government have now offered a subsidy of one schilling per on all meat delivered.

Can the hon. Gentleman say if every effort is being made to increase the local production by the provision of seeds, fertilisers and agricultural machinery?

We are making every effort in that direction. On the precise point, perhaps the hon. Member would put down a separate question.

In view of the substantial grant in aid which this country has made to Austria, will my hon. Friend continue to impress upon the Austrian Government the need to secure better deliveries from the peasants, who have been feeding horses in preference to cattle, and pigs in preference to human beings?

Yes, Sir. We are making these suggestions very vigorously, and we are in direct and constant touch with the Ministry of Food and the Ministry of Agriculture in connection with them.