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Volume 523: debated on Monday 1 February 1954

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asked the Minister of Food if he will publish the Interim. Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Slaughtering.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Dorset, North (Mr. Crouch) and to him on Friday, 29th January, 1954.

:What consultations have there been between my right hon. and gallant Friend and the local authorities? Can he give an assurance that he will, give the maximum assistance to the local authorities in the discharge of what is a very heavy burden of responsibility?


asked the Minister of Food how many slaughterhouses will be required when meat is derationed later this year; and what arrangements are being made to ensure that adequate facilities will then be available.

:It is not possible, to make a firm estimate. It will be for local authorities and other interests concerned to survey the position in their own areas in the light of the recently published Report of the Interdepartmental Committee on Slaughterhouses. I hope shortly to meet representatives of the authorities and other interests.

:While appreciating the complexity of this problem, may I ask my right hon. and gallant Friend whether he is reasonably confident that adequate premises will be available when the day comes for the derationing of meat, because this is a vital matter?

:That was the purpose of getting the interim Report that we might be assured that we should have sufficient accommodation.

:Will my right hon. and gallant Friend give as much latitude as possible to the local authorities in making these arrangements, and not keep too much responsibility in his Department?

:This is largely, if not entirely, a responsibility of the local authorities.

Has the right hon. and gallant Gentleman considered the chaos that will arise when the derationing of meat comes about, so far as the slaughterhouses are concerned? What will be the position of the large centres? Are they to supply the surrounding towns, or are they to have their own slaughterhouses? Will the big wholesale butchers start again, having regard to the fact that this work is being done by contract?

:There are two problems here. The long-term problem is that of moderate concentration, and that has been accepted by both sides of the House. The short-term problem is that of getting sufficient slaughterhouses so that when decontrol of meat takes place this year adequate space will be available.