HC Deb 11 July 1918 vol 108 cc489-90
29. Mr. ALDEN

asked the Minister of National Service whether he is aware that the master bakers of Tottenham and the surrounding districts are unable under present circumstances with the shortage of labour to produce enough bread to feed the population; that frequently the shops are closed on Saturday and other days at one o'clock because the bread is sold out; that the journeyman bakers are working, instead of eight hours a day, sometimes sixteen hours a day, even during this comparatively slack time; whether, under these circumstances, he intends to call up any more men between the ages of thirty-five and forty-five; and what steps he proposes to take?


No, Sir; I was not aware of the facts stated in the question. On the contrary, as the result of inquiries I have made of the Ministry of Food and of the local officers of the Ministry of National Service, I am informed that no report of any shortage of bread in the Tottenham district has been received. I may say, with regard to the latter part of the question, that if the tribunal has acted, as I have no doubt is the case, with due regard to the conditions laid down in the List of Certified Occupations, indispensable bread bakers over thirty-five years of age should still be in civil life, in addition to all those of the new military ages who, by reason of their being in a certified occupation, are not called up for military service.

I may add that special arrangements have been made with the Ministry of Food to secure the protection of men who are necessary for the production and distribution of essential articles of food such as bread, and schemes of co-operation among bakers have been started under the auspices of the Local Government Board and my own Department for the concentration of the baking business in each district, so as to maintain both the commercial interests of the trade and the supply of bread to the public.


If I bring some facts before the right hon. Gentleman to show that there is a shortage, will he have the matter carefully looked into?


Most certainly.