§ MR. G. LAMBERT (Devonshire, South Molton)
I beg to ask the Financial Secretary to the War Office whether in the present tenders for forage in the Western District the standard weight for oats has been increased from 38 lbs. to 40 lbs. per imperial bushel; if so, whether he is aware that large quantities of good British oats weigh only 38 lbs. per bushel, and that, in increasing the weight, necessarily large quantities of thoroughly good British and Irish oats must be excluded; and whether he will order that the weight shall be lowered to the former standard of 38 lbs. per imperial bushel?
I was not aware, until the Question of the hon. Member appeared upon the Paper, that any change in the standard weight of oats laid down in War Office contracts, had recently been proposed, except in Ireland, where the standard has been raised to 40 lbs. at the suggestion of Irish growers, who, apparently, considered that standard would promote the supply of the home-grown article. No change will be made in the English standard until its effect on English producers has been considered, and I shall be glad to avail myself of any information on the matter which the hon. Member may be willing to afford.
§ MR. W. JOHNSTON, (Belfast, S.)
Will the right hon. Gentleman say what Irish growers requested the raising of the standard?
The officers of the Board recently visited Ireland and saw a large number of Irish growers, and the opinion they expressed, I believe, was unanimously in favour of raising the weight.
§ MR. LAMBERT
Has the standard been raised for British oats also; if so, why, and will it be lowered?