HC Deb 14 June 1939 vol 348 cc1302-3
55. Mr. De la Bère

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what steps the Government are taking to reopen and re-equip those mills in rural areas scattered over the country which were shut down and dismantled as the result of the rationalisation scheme carried out by the big millers, since the security stocks of wheat held by the Government would be unusable as human food unless ground into flour and since practically the whole facilities for grinding wheat are now centred in some half-dozen of the great ports?

Mr. W. S. Morrison

The distribution of milling facilities among the ports is very much wider than is suggested in the last part of the question, and a substantial proportion of the total milling capacity of the country (which is still considerably in excess of. peace-time requirements) is dispersed among the inland towns. In the circumstances it is not considered necessary to take such steps as are suggested in the first part of the question.

Mr. De la Bère

Are we to understand that the Government will take no action in this matter? Are they aware that many milling combines have deliberately closed down mills in the rural areas; and is there no one in the Government who has the courage to take action in this matter?

Mr. Morrison

The general trend of the answer was that the position was very much exaggerated in the question.

Mr. De la Bère

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that I will not sit still and see this racket continue?