§ 86 Mr. STEWART
asked the Food Controller whether the export of eggs from Egypt last year was controlled by the Ministry of Food and purchases were confined to one firm to whom merchants having eggs to dispose of were obliged to sell their stocks although the said firm was their trade rival; whether he is aware that eggs were dearer under control last year than they have ever been previously, and the export to this country was considerably less than it formerly was; whether control on the export of eggs has been removed from many countries; and whether he can see his way to accord a similar freedom to the Egyptian egg trade and so save the expense of maintaining a controller and staff in that country?
By arrangement with the Egyptian Government the supplies of eggs in Egypt available for export in the year 19I8–19 were taken over by my Department. The purchase was made 259 through a committee of traders in Egypt and was not confined to one firm, as the hon. Member states. All available shipping space was utilised to the utmost extent and I am satisfied that under these arrangements a larger quantity of sound eggs was made available to the consumers in this country at a cheaper rate than would otherwise have been the case. Owing to its success the arrangement is being again carried out during the present winter by agreement with the Egyptian Government. As regards staff, the only expense incurred by the arrangement is in respect of one officer who acts as the agent of the Ministry in Egypt.
§ Mr. STEWART
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that these merchants would very much like to be rid of Government control?