§ *MR. M. H. SHAW-STEWART (Renfrew, E.)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Agriculture—(1) if he received a representation, dated 31st March 1893, from farmers who sell live stock at the auction market of Messrs. Speedie Brothers, Stirling, complaining of the unreliability of the automatic indicating dial attached to the cattle-weighing machine erected in said mart, in compliance with the Weighing of Cattle Act, 1891; (2) whether, during the last two years, repeated complaints have been forwarded to him regarding the loose way in which cattle are weighed by the proprietors of the auction market; (3) whether he is aware that on 30th January last the local inspector of weights and measures tested the weighing machine and found an error of 56 lbs. against the seller and in favour of the buyer, and gave the proprietors notice of the inaccuracy; and that on the 1st March the inspector again visited the market, and, on finding the machine still incorrect to the extent of 56 lbs. against the seller, he defaced his stamp of verification; and (4), whether, seeing that the incorrect machine is still used for weighing cattle, he will instruct the proper authorities to take proceedings against the owners of this weighing machine?
§ *THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF AGRICULTURE (Mr. HERBERT GARDNER, Essex, Saffron Walden)
I duly received the representation to 23 which the hon. Member refers, and in November last a complaint reached me as to the failure of the machine in question, with regard to which I have been in communication with the auctioneers concerned. I am informed by the Town Clerk that the facts are as stated in the third paragraph of the question, and that the matter will be further investigated by the Burgh Magistrates and Commissioners of Police who are the local authorities for the purposes of the Weights and Measures Acts. I have no power to order proceedings to be taken under those Acts, but I will keep the matter under inquiry so as to prevent, if possible, the recurrence of complaints on the part of those by whom the mart is used.