§ 69. Sir JOHN LONSDALE
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food if Ulster bacon curers were asked to send representatives to the Conference on the 9th instant at which prices were fixed for Irish bacon and pigs; and if representatives of this interest will be present at the further Conference on the 23rd?
The necessity for rapid action, to prevent a further heavy rise in prices, made it impossible to secure the attendance of representatives of the Ulster bacon curers at the Conference on the 9th instant, but they have been invited to be present at the further Conference, which is being held to-day.
§ 70. Sir J. LONSDALE
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food if bacon curers and farmers in the North of Ireland resent the action taken by the Glasgow Produce Exchange in fixing Irish bacon prices without regard to Irish interests; that the fear of a further reduction of prices on the 23rd instant has caused Irish farmers to dispose of their pigs at prices much below the market rates ruling before the 9th instant; and if he will give an assurance that no further reductions in the price of Irish bacon will be authorized without a full opportunity being afforded to those concerned in this industry to state their views on the subject?
I have no knowledge of the facts alleged in the first two parts of the question. I can, however, assure the hon. Baronet that the future bacon prices will only be fixed after all interests concerned have been considered and consulted.
§ Mr. FLAVIN
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in the leading stores in the City of London Irish bacon and English bacon are quoted side by side at the same price, so that there is no difference in, price on the public market?
I am certainly not aware of that. As the hon. Gentleman himself is aware there has been for many years, as a rule, a substantial difference between the prices on the English markets of English and Irish bacon.
§ Mr. FLAVIN
I am personally aware of the contrary. If the hon. Gentleman will look at the official organ of the grocers and traders in this country—the "Grocer"—he will see that every week Irish bacon quoted at the same price as English bacon.
§ 71. Sir J. LONSDALE
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food, if, following the conference held on the 9th instant, at which the prices of Irish bacon were settled, telegrams were received in Belfast from the Glasgow Produce Exchange intimating that the adjustment of smoked ham prices had been remitted to the Glasgow Association, and subsequently the maximum price was fixed by them at 176s., ex-Irish ports, although the price ruling for four weeks previously was 184s.; and whether the Glasgow Produce Exchange had any authority from the Food Controller for their action?
I understand that the facts are substantially as stated in the first part of the question. The committee of the Home and Foreign Produce Exchange made arrangements in consultation with the Provincial Produce Exchange for fixing agreed maximum prices. The Food Controller has no reason to question the fairness of the procedure adopted. As already stated the prices come up for revision at meetings every fortnight, when representatives of the North of Ireland bacon curers will, amongst others, be present