§ 78 and 79. Mr. W. THORNE
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food (1) whether he will request each of the 400 firms in Smithfield Meat Market to prepare a return from their books showing the total number of beef-quarters, mutton carcases, lambs, and boxes of offal consigned to, bought, or otherwise acquired for sale, from 1st January to 24th February; whether he will further request them to show what proportion of the beef-quarters, sheep, lambs, and complete boxes of offal were sold to butchers and what proportion to market jobbers having premises either inside the market or in Long Lane and Charterhouse Street, and specifying in each case, where the goods were disposed of to a jobber, the quantity and the name of the purchasing firm; in cases where it is shown that the actual purchases of any one firm, or any specified set of firms, were such as to influence a rise of prices, will he inquire into the case so as to decide what action to take; and (2) whether from the 1st of March onwards he will prohibit, in all cases of home-killed meat, the sale in Smithfield Market of goods consigned from the provinces to others than genuine bonâ-fide retailing butchers or persons who are buying on commission for genuine bonâ-fide retailing butchers and can produce the order of such to purchase on their behalf; and that, in the case of all importers of foreign or Colonial meat, he will instruct the respective importing firms to make a daily return of all sales and quantities made by them to any firm of market jobbers and a further return of the dates on which such goods are withdrawn from the refrigerators in which they are stored?
The object which the hon. Member evidently has in view of checking undue speculation is one with which the Food Controller fully sympathises. He has already made certain inquiries into the points raised in these questions and is making further inquiries. It is not clear, however, that the steps suggested by the hon. Member are the best method of dealing with the matter.