§ 48 and 49. Mr. BENNETT-GOLDNEY
asked (1) whether, in the event of war, it is proposed to protect the safety of our oversea food supply, seeing that if that is carried out the fighting strength of our Fleet as a whole will thereby be scattered and weakened; whether the Government has any intention of releasing the Fleet from these distant protective duties by providing a six months' supply of food-stuffs in these Islands at all periods of the year, and thus enabling the Fleet, if necessary, to concentrate the whole of its forces in Home waters for offensive action at the outset of hostilities; and (2) whether the Government have obtained any estimate of the cost of providing national or other State-controlled granaries capable of storing a six months' supply of corn for the population of these Islands, in the event of war, at all seasons of the year; if it has been suggested to the Government by their advisers that by adopting the most modern systems of storage, such granaries could be built and equipped with modern machinery for a sum of two million pounds or thereabouts, and that the cost of maintenance and distribution, including the periodical movements of the supply, would not exceed £50,000 or £60,000 per annum; and, if so, or even if the estimated cost were found to be greater, whether the right hon. Gentleman is prepared to appoint an impartial Committee to investigate the whole question of wheat storage in this connection and afterwards make a Report to this House?
§ The PRIME MINISTER
The whole question of food supply in time of war is being examined by the Committee of Imperial Defence. Investigations are still being made with regard to various aspects of the matter. The subject of grain storage is intimately connected with the larger question, and no decision can be come to with regard to it till these investigations are concluded. I am not prepared to deal by question and answer with the other matters referred to.