HC Deb 26 April 1917 vol 92 cc2559-62

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food if barley and other grain is being used in the manufacture of beers or spirits that are exported to countries other than Allied countries; and whether, if so, he will consider the importance of disallowing such manufacture and export forthwith?


A proclamation prohibiting the exportation of all beer except under licence will be issued next week. I am obtaining from the Customs and Excise Department precise information in reply to the first part of the hon. Member's question, which I will furnish to him as soon as I receive it. As regards potable spirits, exports in most cases are made not from spirits now manufactured, but from stocks. The only exception was gin, in which case until recently licences were being granted on a restricted scale for its manufacture for export purposes. It has now been decided to stop entirely the issue of these licences.


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether, looking to the fact that bread and sugar consumers are now rationed, he will consider the advisability of placing consumers of beverages manufactured from grain and sugar on exactly the same footing by rationing them on the basis of the amount of grain and sugar required to produce their favourite beverages instead of allowing them, as at present, to consume double rations?


I understand the hon. Member to suggest that a person who takes beverages requiring grain and sugar for their production should reduce their ration of actual bread and sugar proportionately. The proposed rations are so far voluntary only, but this ingenious suggestion is well worthy of the patriotic consideration of consumers of those beverages.


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food if he will state what quantity of grain is being used weekly for the production of coloured malt with which to brew stout and black beer; what is the urgent reason for the continued production of those liquors at the expense of the food of the country; to what extent licences for the continued production of coloured malt are current; and whether it is intended to issue further licences for that purpose?


The quantity of grain so used is about 250 tons per week. The output of these beverages is limited to the same extent as that of beer. Licences are granted down to the 30th June next, and their continuance will depend upon the continued production of beer.


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether the 40,000 quarters of malt used weekly for brewing other than brew- ing for the Army, together with the other cereals used for the production of distilled and fermented drinks, would suffice to provide bread rations for about four and a-half million persons at the rate of three and a-half pounds of bread per person each week; and, if not, can he say for how many persons?


Practically all the grain now being used for the purposes described in the question has already been malted. The extent to which malt can be used in the bulk for human food is uncertain, so that any calculation such as that suggested by the hon. Member is somewhat hypothetical.


Can it not be used to dilute the other grain which is now used in making flour?


I believe that that is possible up to a certain proportion, and that matter is being very closely investigated at the present time.

84. Mr. D. WHITE

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he is aware that sugar importers, on sending to the London docks to fetch their sugar, have received a note from the Port of London Authority saying that delivery of their sugar was stopped by the Food Controller unless for brewers; whether a similar course has been taken at Other ports; what is the quantity of sugar in respect of which such notes have been sent, and what is the quantity that has passed for brewers during the present year; and whether steps will be taken to reverse the policy indicated by the note?


The arrangements referred to were made by the Board of Customs and Excise and the Port of London Authority for securing the observance of the Brewers' Sugar Order, 1917. Similar arrangements exist at other ports. The object of this Order was to prevent impure sugar from finding its way into retail shops; and the restriction of the use of the sugar to brewing made it possible at once to stop further imports of brewing sugar. This restriction, however, has now been abandoned, and manufacturers are allowed to remove brewers' sugar from warehouses under licence on condition of reckoning it at 80 per cent. of its full weight as part of their sugar supplies for the year. The notes to which the hon. Member refers were sent only to persons who neglected to obtain the Food Controller's licence. I am unable to state what is the quantity of sugar that has been passed for the use of brewers during the present year.

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