§ 67. Sir JOHN LONSDALE
asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that shipping freights on grain from the Argentine to this country are now 28s. a quarter, as compared with 2s. a quarter before the War; if he has considered the effect of this increase in freights upon the prices of bread and meat in this country; and, if he proposes to take any steps by commandeering shipping or controlling the shipping industry, or other-wise, to reduce freights to reasonable proportions and so effect a reduction in food prices?
§ 69. Mr. GOLDSTONE
asked whether there has been a further rise in grain freights from the River Plate; whether a freight of £7 5s. per ton was recently refused for the up-river ports and a demand made for £7 10s. per ton; whether he is aware that 12s. per ton was accepted before the War; and if he will say what action the Board of Trade proposes to take to check the increase in freights, which is responsible for so large an addition to the price of bread?
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
The wheat imported into this country in the last three months has been almost wholly from North America, and only a quite insignificant amount has been received from the Argentine. In these circumstances I do not think the freight on grain from the Argentine has affected the present price of bread in this country. The freight charges on meat from the Argentine were fixed concurrently with the requisitioning of insulated spaces on meat-carrying steamers. Steps have already been taken with a view to securing adequate supplies of grain to this country.
§ Sir J. LONSDALE
Is it not a fact that the present freights are equivalent to 2½d. of a 4-lb. loaf?
§ Sir J. LONSDALE
Will the hon. Gentleman consider the desirability of commandeering great ships in view of the necessity of bringing the freights down to reasonable proportions?
§ Mr. GOLDSTONE
Is the hon. Member not aware that the wheat supply of the Argentine is now about to be shipped, and is the Board of Trade going to wait until it is all there and provide no ships to bring it?