HC Deb 07 December 1920 vol 135 cc1919-20

asked the Minister of Food (1) if he will state who the expert inspector of the Wheat Commission is who examined the stocks of flour at the Assembly Hall, Ferndale; will he give the date of his examination, what day was his Report received, and on what grounds did he condemn the building in which the aforesaid flour was stored; if the Report contained any estimate as to the quantity of flour that was destroyed or unfit for human food;

(2) whether he is aware that on the 23rd November, 1920, in answer to anxious inquiries made, the local food officer stated in a written reply received at Ferndale on 25th November that no traces of rats or maggots were found amongst the flour, and that he had about that date received instructions to dispose of the flour in store; was this done in order to allay the deep feeling created by this wilful waste of the people's food;

(3) if he can give the name of the miller who was instructed to deal with the flour stored at Ferndale, and state why he was unable to dispose of it; and, as there is no miller or flour mills established within 30 miles of this district, does he now contemplate transporting the flour out of the district, or will he distribute it, in accordance with the practice, amongst the retail tradesmen of the district who have made repeated applications for the same?


The inspector of the Royal Commission on Wheat Supplies who examined the flour in question is Mr. Sully, and the date of his examination was 8th September, 1920. The inspector did not condemn the building in which the flour was stored, but recommended that the flour Itself should be taken to the mills for re-conditioning. Owing, in the first instance, to the intervention of the coal strike, it was found impossible to remove the flour at once, but, as already stated in previous replies, instructions were given to this effect by the Wheat Commission on the 11th November. This flour is now being removed in accordance with these instructions. The Food Controller is aware of the report of the local food officer referred to, but the instructions given for the re-conditioning of this flour were the outcome of a Report made by the inspector in the course of his duties.


Will the hon. Gentleman kindly give information to the House with regard to paragraphs 3 and 4 in question No. 79, and as to paragraphs 5 and 6 in question No. 80, and paragraphs 2 and 3 in question No. 81; and will he kindly state the amount of flour that has been destroyed in consequence of the rats and maggots, and how many times they were appealed to to remove the flour before it had been wilfully wasted in this building?


Perhaps my hon. Friend will put down another question.


Is the hon. Gentleman aware that I have already asked six times with regard to this building and the flour wasted and may the House now get the information with regard to the flour destroyed in this unsuitable building?

83. Mr. HURD

asked the Minister of Food whether he is aware of the serious inconvenience caused to bread consumers and the baking trade by the non-delivery of flour at West Harptree and other parts of the Frome Division of Somerset by reason of the transport dispute at Bristol; whether the dockers' committee have refused to give permits for supplies of flour to West Harptree and other parts which are outside a four-mile radius from Bristol; and whether, in these exceptional circumstances, the Government will institute a motor lorry service for these deliveries?


No shortage of flour in the places named in the question has been reported to the local officers of the Ministry of Food. The situation is being carefully watched, but I understand that the delivery of flour to places outside a four-mile radius to Bristol is not impeded by the strikers provided that the means of transport are supplied by the purchaser.

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