HC Deb 11 March 1895 vol 31 cc757-9
MR. J. H. ROBERTS (Denbighshire, W.)

I beg to ask the Postmaster General—(1) whether he will state whether he has received a Petition from the inhabitants of the parish of Llanelidan, in the county of Denbigh, in reference to the delivery of letters in the parish; (2) whether he is aware there is no daily delivery in a large portion of the parish, and that this results in serious inconvenience to the locality in question; and (3) whether he will direct an inquiry into the circumstances of the case?


Inquiry is being made on this subject, and I hope very shortly to be able to arrive at a decision upon it.

SIR J. KINLOCH (Perth, E.)

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Agriculture if he has observed that, notwithstanding the great depression of agriculture in the United Kingdom, butter, cheese, and eggs to the value of nearly £23,000,000 sterling were imported last year from abroad, the imports of butter having increased from £11,985,190 in 1892, to £13,470,419 in 1894, the increase on butter from Denmark alone for the same period amounting to £1,000,000; whether he has considered any means of encouraging British agriculturists so to increase the production of home-made butter as to render unnecessary the large importation from foreign countries; whether the difficulty of distribution could be overcome by enabling farmers, under a cheap rate of postage, to send butter direct by parcel post to the customer; and, whether he will arrange with the Postmaster General to facilitate the forwarding of the butter under a special rate of 1d. per 17 ounces, so as to allow for the packing of one pound parcels?


It is the case, as my hon. Friend observes, that the value of the butter, cheese, and eggs imported into the United Kingdom last year was very nearly £23,000,000, and that as regards butter there was an increase of about £1,500,000 in 1894 as compared with 1892, nearly £1,000,000 being attributable to Denmark. I should be very glad indeed to do anything in my power to encourage the supply of these articles by home-producers, and I am glad to observe from reports which I have received that the largely increased attention now given to technical instruction in dairying is resulting in a distinct improvement of quality. The information we have been able to issue as to the systems in force in Denmark and elsewhere, has also, I trust, been of service to those concerned. With regard to the suggestion that special parcel-post rates should be allowed in the case of butter, I would say that the subject is one upon which both my predecessor and myself have been in communication with the Postmaster General, but there are serious difficulties—both practical and financial—in the way of any arrangement of the kind, as will be seen from the reply given by my right hon. Friend to the question of my hon. Friend, the Member for Leicester, on the 28th February.


I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade if he can give the quantities of foreign oats and foreign barley imported into Ireland in 1892, 1893, and 1894; whether there has been an increase or decrease in the imports of those articles since the Budget Statement of last year; and, what were the average market prices of Irish-grown barley and of oats respectively in the months of May, August, and November, in 1893 and in 1894?


The quantities of oats and barley imported into Ireland direct from foreign countries in the last three years have been as follows:—

Year. Oats, cwts. Barley, cwls.
1892 15,105 796,156
1893 7,020 694,603
1894 23,100 1,334,349

The quantities of foreign oats and barley into that country (imported direct) in the 10 months ended the 28th February, 1895, as compared with the quantities imported in the 10 months ended the 28th February, 1894, have been as follows:—

Oats, ewts. Barley, ewts.
Ten months to February, 1894 7,020 741,916
Ten months to February, 1895 41,100 1,131,647

There has, consequently, been an increase in the imports of those articles into Ireland, since the Budget statement of last year, in the case of oats of 34,080 cwts., and in the case of barley of 389,731 cwts. With regard to the average market prices of Irish grain, barley and oats, the following have been the prices at the Dublin Corn Exchange per barrel of 16 stone as regards barley, and per barrel of 14 stone as regards oats:—

Barley. Oats.
1893. 1894. 1893. 1894.
May 11.9 14.9 12.6 12.0
August none returned 14.3 13.7 11.4
November 14.9 14.0 10.11 11.6

MR. A. F. JEFFREYS (Hants, Basingstoke)

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade how many bushels of maize, barley, and oats, respectively, were imported into the United Kingdom last year; and what is the annual cost to the country for making these Returns?


The December number of the Board of Trade Returns (page 16) shows the quantities in hundredweights of maize, barley, and oats, which were imported into the United Kingdom in 1894. Taking the weights per bushel of the several sorts of grain named to be 60 1bs. to the bushel of maize, 39 lbs. to the bushel of oats, and 50 lbs. to the bushel of barley, the following would be, approximately, the quantities expressed in bushels of maize, barley, and oats imported in 1894, viz.:—Maize, 66,014,747 bushels; barley, 69,987,420 bushels; oats, 43,017,229 bushels. If the hon. Member refers to the expense incurred in preparing the Returns of the articles mentioned in the Question, it does not seem possible to separate the cost incurred in respect thereof from that of preparing the Returns of Imports generally.