asked the Minister of Food whether he is aware of the resentment caused among butchers in Cardiff and elsewhere by his decision to restrict the off-ration sale of pork to pork butchers; and whether he will end this discrimination against other butchers.
I am receiving a deputation from the butchers this week. I will write to the hon. Member after the meeting has taken place.
Is the Minister aware that the butchers of Cardiff are very much upset with him and that I learn with dismay that they have little confidence in his handling of this problem? Since Nottingham, which is roughly the same size as Cardiff, has 80 of these shops, whereas there are only 20 in Cardiff, and 90 per cent, of butchers' shops in Cardiff will have no off-ration meat, will he take that into account?
It is true that pork butchers' shops are unevenly distributed throughout the country, no doubt in relation to the demand for their products, but I ask the hon. Gentleman to bear in mind that pork butchers were put out of business 13 years ago, and therefore it is necessary to approach their problems sympathetically. Secondly, there is no increase in the amount of pork allocated to the pork butchers involved, and any sales in the form of joints will mean a corresponding reduction in the pork available for their pies and other products.
Would my hon. Friend reconsider this problem? Is it really desirable to resuscitate a type of butcher selling one kind of meat? Has it not been the case for many years that most butchers have been selling all meats? Is there really a strong case for limiting these sales to pork butchers?
There is a case, but I should prefer not to reply further until I have met the butchers' representatives this week.
asked the Minister of Food the number of pork butchers in Cardiff who will be entitled to sell off-ration pork; and what is the number of butchers to whom this privilege will be denied.
Nineteen and 255, respectively.
Will the Minister bear these important figures in mind tomorrow when he is considering this question?
I will bear in mind figures relating to Cardiff as to the rest of the country.