HC Deb 29 May 1936 vol 312 cc2383-5

The following Question stood upon the Older Paper in the name of Mr. TINKER:

19. To ask the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been drawn to the destruction of foodstuff when it is considered that the market is likely to be overstocked; is he aware that on 15th May, at Fraserburgh, 350 crams of fresh herrings were thrown back into the sea owing to the glutting of the market; and will he consider setting up a commission to find out the full extent of this destruction and to devise means by which such food can be distributed to needy families?


On a point of Order. I put this question upon the Order Paper to be answered by the Prime Minister, and it was accepted as such. Then I got word from him that he had put it to the President of the Board of Trade. I am going to raise this matter when the Question has been answered.


I am aware that herrings were recently thrown back into the sea, as stated by the hen. Member. As indicated by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland, in the answer which he gave on 26th May to the right hon. Member for Stirling and Clackmannan, Western (Mr. Johnston) the Herring Industry Board are further considering the problem of disposing of occasional gluts of herring, in consultation with the Commissioners for the Special Areas and the Food Council. I am confident that the destruction of food stuffs in this country is an infrequent occurrence and that no serious case would escape the Department's notice. I see no reason for setting up a special commission.


Is the hon. Gentleman not aware that both herring and other products are being destroyed, although we know that there are many needy families? If the system were organised properly, would it not be possible to use what Nature has given to us for the benefit of the people? May I ask the hon. Gentleman to deal with the matter, if he can.


I understand the hon. Gentleman's point. but I think the premise is a false one, and that the destruction of foodstuffs in this country is a very rare occurrence indeed. I am aware of the subject A that was discussed upon a recent Question, but I do not know of any other instance.


Is it not a fact that the destruction of herring in this manner is not an infrequent occurrence, and may I ask the hon. Gentleman whether the Herring Board are going to distribute herring in the Special Areas only when there are occasions of glut and not in all circumstances?


Has the attention of the Minister been called to the fact, that only last week in Lerwick, 1,000 crans of herring had to be dumped into the ocean, and is this not an occurrence which has happened several times recently?


In view of the statements that have been made, is it not possible for the hon. Gentleman to set up an investigation to find out how far they are true or otherwise?


Would the hon. Gentleman consider introducing a Bill compelling the herring to approach Fraserburgh in an orderly manner?


I beg to give notice that I will raise this matter upon the first opportunity.