HC Deb 20 February 1866 vol 181 c815

said, he would beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade, What amount of information the Government can give respecting the consumption of articles of food, especially corn and meat, at various periods in the present century?


I am afraid, Sir, that any estimate that could be furnished of the quantity of corn and meat consumed either now or in any former period during the present century would be very loose and unsatisfactory. We have the Returns of the importations of foreign corn, and they are reliable; but we have no accounts whatever of the quantity of home-grown corn consumed. Indeed, we have no statistics in this country of the extent of land appropriated to different crops. We are taking a cattle census, and if it be true that one-fourth of the cattle are annually slaughtered, we might estimate the consumption of butchers' meat; but I am informed by the Comptroller of the Corn Returns and others who are acquainted with this subject, that no reliable information is to be had from which to furnish such facts as might be laid before Parliament.