§ MR. ALDEN (Middlesex, Tottenham)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether he can inform the House of the quantity of American tinned meat at present in stock at the Deptford, Plymouth, and Gosport Victualling Yards; whether this meat was to the order of the late Government; whether it is at present served out to the Navy; what is the intention of the Government 1342 with regard to its disposal; whether he will state the amount of jam purchased by the late Government which has recently been condemned at the Deptford Victualling Yard; what was the original cost; who are the contractors; and whether they can be held responsible.
§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON
The quantity of American tinned meat at present in stock at the victualling yards mentioned is approximately 1,680,0001b. The bulk of this meat was purchased in 1903–04, when supplies of Australian meat were unobtainable owing to drought. Men serving in His Majesty's ships have for the present been allowed the option of drawing Australian or Argentine corned beef in place of American, but it has not been thought necessary to consider special measures for the disposal of the stock of American meat. As regards the last part of the Question, a quantity of jam, amounting to 269,0001b., has been reported as unsuitable for issue, and the matter is now under investigation. The prices paid for this jam range from 28s. 7d. to 34s. 5d. per cwt. In these circumstances I do not feel in a position to give the names of the firms concerned.