HC Deb 30 June 1927 vol 208 cc565-8
39. Mr. HURD

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury what is the proportion and value of British contracts for meat for the Army, Navy and Air Force which are given to foreigners in spite of the Government's general policy of preference for British goods?


The total meat purchases for the Army, Navy and Air Force for the last three years, including tinned meat, amounted to approximately £3,000,000. Purchases of foreign meat (mainly tinned) amounted to £106,000, or less than 4 per cent. These figures do not include home stations at which requirements are less than 100 lbs. a day, or certain foreign stations where contracts are made locally.


From which foreign country does the bulk of this foreign meat come?


I could not say without notice, but I think the Argentine.

51. Mr. HURD

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what steps are being taken by the Empire Marketing Board to induce the authorities concerned to carry out the Board's precept of Buy British Goods in respect of meat purchases for the Army, Navy and Air Force; and whether the Board will consider making a grant or taking other means to ensure a ration of at least two days of British home-grown meat in each week?

The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES (Mr. Ormsby-Gore)

The Empire Marketing Board has been in frequent consultation with the Departments concerned, and as my hon. Friend is aware from the answer given to him on 20th June by the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, the general contract policy of His Majesty's Government in Great Britain to give substantial preference to Empire over foreign goods is applied to meat purchases for the fighting forces. I do not think the proposal suggested in the last part of the question is likely to commend itself to the Empire Marketing Board.


How many meat contracts are now given to British home producers as a result of the hon. Gentleman's representations?


I should like to have notice of that question.


asked the Secretary of State for War whether all the potatoes, other vegetables, and fruit served to the troops are grown in this country; and, if not, whether he can estimate what proportion of them is home-grown?

The SECRETARY of STATE for WAR (Sir Laming Worthington-Evans)

Of potatoes and other vegetables served to the troops, by far the greater quantity, with the exception of onions, which are mainly imported from Spain and Egypt, is grown in this country. In addition, every endeavour is made to encourage local production by the obtaining of supplies direct from farmers or local markets in the vicinity of military stations. As regards vegetables generally, small quantities of new potatoes are obtained from Spain, St. Malo and Jersey, and of tomatoes, for cooking purposes, from Spain and Teneriffe at periods of the year when home-grown supplies are not available. With regard to fruits, the supply, in the main, is limited to apples, oranges and bananas. Of apples, a large proportion of those supplies is grown in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, while a certain quantity is imported from America, English apples being supplied when available. As regards bananas and oranges, the farmer are mainly supplied from Jamaica, a small proportion being obtained from the Canary Islands, while the bulk of the supply of oranges is obtained from Spain, with a small proportion from South Africa.


asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether all the potatoes, other vegetables, and fruit served to the men in His Majesty's ships and dockyards are grown in this country; and, if not, whether he can estimate what proportion of them is homegrown?


Although the great majority of such supplies are British grown, it is not possible to estimate what proportion of the vegetables and fruit consumed in His Majesty's ships and naval establishments is home-grown.


Are steps taken to encourage those in authority in these several centres to buy British home goods where even they can?

Lieut.-Colonel HEADLAM

Yes, whenever it is possible British home-grown goods are obtained.


Why should what is possible for the War Office, which has given a most picturesque answer, be impossible for the Admiralty?

Lieut.-Colonel HEADLAM

I have no doubt I could give as picturesque an answer as that given by my right hon. Friend, but one picturesque answer is good enough for one day.