HC Deb 04 May 1915 vol 71 cc954-5
29. Mr. W. THORNE

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether he has seen that an extended drought has prevailed in New South Wales, especially in the Riverina district; and, as poor and perished sheep have recently arrived in London from Australia, will he say what steps the Government propose to take to prevent meat works in New South Wales delivering to them poor class sheep, short of flesh, and charging for them the scheduled price for good quality mutton?


I accept my hon. Friend's intimation as to the occurrence of a drought in New South Wales, and can assure him that there is every reason to believe that the present system of inspection will effectually prevent the acceptance of meat of poor quality for War Department requirements.

30. Mr. W. THORNE

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been called to the fact that 4½d. per lb. is to be paid by the Imperial Government for wethers and 4d. for ewes in New Zealand, and 4⅛L and 3⅞d., respectively, for wethers and ewes in New South Wales; whether he is aware that ordinarily at Smithfield there is about 6d. to 8d. per stone difference between the sheep of these two Colonies; whether the figure for New South Wales mutton is in any way connected with the recent combine formed between the firms of Borthwick and Sons, John Cooke and Company, and the Angliss Proprietary. Limited, referred to in the Australian Meat Commission Report; and whether it was upon the advice of Mr. Gordon Campbell or Lord Whitburgh that the above prices were settled?

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. Runciman)

The prices of meat purchased in New Zealand and in New South Wales on behalf of His Majesty's Government were fixed by the Governments of New Zealand and New South Wales respectively. The second part of my hon. Friend's question is, I think, disposed of by the fact that the New South Wales Government were invested with full powers under an Act of the New South Wales Parliament to take control of the meat supplies of the State, and to fix prices. So far as I am aware, no advice of any kind was asked of either of the two gentlemen mentioned in the third part of the question.