HC Deb 04 March 1918 vol 103 cc1701-3
73 Major NEWMAN

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he is satisfied with the working of the card-ration system on its first week of trial; whether the glut of poultry, rabbits, and meat which occurred during the first days that the system was on trial was relieved by a week-end presentation of coupons; and, as a result, has he been able to ascertain if butchers and poultry dealers were able to dispose of the supplies they had for sale and were not left with such perishable goods on their hands?

74 Mr. LOUGH

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether, owing to the inadequate meat rations allowed to the civil population and the reluctance to use meat tickets, large surplus quantities of fresh and other meat were available at the end of the week in London; and, if so, what steps he means to take to avoid waste and adjust the supply to the actual demand?


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food if he is aware that tradesmen are not allowed to sell tinned or potted meats except on the same terms as fresh meat— that is to say, such meat as is rationed; and if he sees his way to allow tradesmen to sell their present stock of such tinned or potted meats freely, seeing that these meats are spoiling and their manifest presence in shops is not conducive to real economy or to the satisfaction of the ordinary purchaser?


The Food Controller regards the first week's working of the London rationing scheme as in the main satisfactory. Food control committees were authorised to allow the sale of meat without the presentation of coupons in any case in which perishable supplies were in danger of being wasted. As far as reports have yet been received, this arrangement substantially met the needs of the situation last week.


Is the hon. Gentleman aware that on Saturday in a large number of butchers' shops hundreds of pounds of offal had to be kept over until Monday, and were practically of no use whatever?


I am not aware of that.


Was any preference in regard to the purchase of the offal given to hotels and restaurants, and, if so, why?


I do not think so, but I think that there were some hotels and restaurants that had a stock and they were allowed to use it rather than that it should be wasted.


Is the hon. Gentleman aware that private persons were unable to use their coupons for offal at all on Saturday?


Is the hon. Gentleman aware that many butchers, owing to the bad distribution of meat, were unable to supply customers, while others had a surplus?


I am aware that in some districts of London butchers did not receive the usual quantity that they should have received, but I will make inquiries on this particular point.


Will my hon. Friend suggest to the Ministry that they should see that surplus food which may be sold without a coupon should be advertised so that the public may know that they can get that food?


I do not think that it will be continued in future. It was only to prevent waste on this occasion.