§ 93. Mr. CLANCY
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he is aware that the board 311 of guardians of Balrothery Union, county Dublin, some weeks ago complained to the proper authority of the lack of a proper supply of sugar for the inmates of their workhouse, and received for answer a recommendation to make a second application; that they did apply a second time, but have again been informed by their contractor that the sugar asked for is not available; and what he proposes to do to secure a proper supply to this public institution?
The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of FOOD (Captain Bathurst)
A letter was received by the Ministry of Food from the clerk to the Balrothery Union on the 25th May, and was referred to the Sugar Commission, who on the 1st June wrote to the union asking from whom the latter purchased their sugar in 1915, how much they then obtained from all sources, and how much they had obtained this year. No answer has yet been received to these questions, and pending its receipt no action is possible. I have not been able to trace any letter from the clerk of the Balrothery Union prior to 25th May last.
§ Mr. CLANCY
Has not the right hon. Gentleman received a letter from me: I wrote to him, and he advised me to apply again?
I have received an enormous number of letters on the subject of the sugar supply. If the hon. Gentleman did, as he states, I would send on the letter immediately to the Sugar Commission, and it must have miscarried. I will pursue the matter further.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
Can the hon. Gentleman say when a representative on the Sugar Commission will be appointed for Ireland: he has made a promise to that effect about ten times within the last four months, and we have heard nothing more about it?
I have already stated, in reply to a similar statement by the hon. Member, that I have made no promise whatever in the matter: it was not in my power to do so. I have made representations to the Food Controller, but, in the present state of suspended animation of the office of which I am representative here, it is wholly impossible to commit some future Minister to a policy of which he might not approve.
§ 95. Mr. ACLAND ALLEN
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he is aware that the Clydebank Co-operative Society, owing to shortage of supplies, have had to reduce the supply of sugar to their members to 4 ozs. per head per week; and if he will take steps at once to increase the amount available for the society?
I have received from the hon. Member a letter to the effect stated in the first part of the question. There was a shortage in the issues of sugar from the Sugar Commission during April, and the Clydebank Co-operative Society, presumably, suffered in common with other retailers. For the past few weeks, however, the issues have been restored to about their previous level, and the Clydebank Society should henceforth be able to obtain from its wholesaler supplies at the rate of 50 per cent, of their 1915 allowance. The Sugar Commission are making immediate inquiries into this case.
§ 96. Commander BELLAIRS
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food if he will say for what reason the price of sugar was advanced after promising the fruit growers that they would have some for jam making; and whether the Sugar Commission shows a big profit on its purchases?
The price of sugar has been advanced to meet the increased cost at which the Sugar Commission have recently had to purchase sugar, including that intended to be sold to fruit growers for jam making. The Commission make no profit upon their transactions taken as a whole.
No, Sir, no; the retail price of sugar is not fixed, but, so far as I am aware, there has been no increase in the retail price of sugar that is out of proportion to the increase in the wholesale price of sugar which the Commission has had to pay.
§ Mr. WHITEHOUSE
Was it not until recently the policy of the Ministry to suggest the price at which sugar should be sold retail?
These matters are matters entirely for the Sugar Commission. I am not myself prepared, under existing circumstances, to go further than I have already gone.