§ 48. Mr. FINNEY
asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been called to the resolutions which were passed at a special meeting, held for the purpose of considering the questions respecting the nation's food supplies, of the 1824 council of the county borough of Stoke-on-Trent, namely, that the council viewed with alarm the constantly increasing prices of food and other necessaries of life, believing that many of such increases are unnecessary and unjustifiable, and called upon the Government to take definite steps to control and regulate the supply of food and its prices, to prevent the holding up of stocks of commodities, and so compel a more equitable and reasonable distribution of the nation's food supplies; that the council viewed with much concern the delay of the Government in taking any steps to increase the food production of Great Britain and Ireland, and called upon the Government to immediately issue such instructions to the agriculturists of this country and, if necessary, give such guarantees as will result in a large increase in the acreage of corn for next harvest; that the council also urged the Government still further to restrict the manufacture of all alcoholic drinks during the period of the War, so as to release necessary foodstuffs for the more urgent needs of the people; that the Government be urged to order that no bread shall be offered for sale less than twelve hours after baking; and if he will inform the House whether and what steps the Government intend to take to give effect to the same?
My right hon. Friend has asked me to answer this question for him. I do not appear to have received a copy of this resolution, but I note its terms as conveyed in the question. The hon. Member will recognise that it is not possible within the limits of an answer to make a statement of the kind for which he asks. I may, however, refer him to various statements made in this House on behalf of the Government during the last few days in regard to some of the many points covered by the question.