HC Deb 11 November 1936 vol 317 cc868-9
47. Major STOURTON

asked the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that it is more than five months since the Government appointed a committee to advise and outline schemes for safeguarding food supplies in the event of emergency; whether he can account for the delay and state when the committee will present their report and, in view of the urgency of the matter, give an undertaking to arrange for the immediate storage of a year's wheat supply?

50. Mr. DONNER

asked the Ministers for the Co-ordination of Defence whether, in view of the fact that investigation of the subject has continued for a long period of time, he is now in a position to lay proposals before Parliament to ensure the establishment of adequate grain reserves in the United Kingdom?


The Sub-Committee of the Committee of Imperial Defence, which was appointed to advise and outline schemes for safeguarding food supplies in the event of emergency, has made a full inquiry into all the different parts of this question, and from time to time definite decisions on important matters of principle have been given, in order to facilitate further progress. There has been no delay. In view of the nature of some of the proposals now under consideration, it is not likely that any public statement will be made until the final decisions have been reached. Reports on several aspects of the question have in fact been presented, but I would remind my hon. and gallant Friend that reports of Sub-Committees of the Committee of Imperial Defence are confidential, and are not published. I cannot give the undertaking suggested.


Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that the submarine menace brought us within a fortnight of starvation in the last War, and that in the next, this menace will be greatly intensified?


The importance of that and of other considerations is fully recognised by the committee.


Does the Minister know that some people in this country are within a day of starvation, not a fortnight?