HC Deb 22 November 1939 vol 353 cc1210-1
41. Viscountess Astor

asked the Minister of Transport whether he is aware that there is a shortage of feeding-stuffs in Devon and Cornwall, and neighbouring districts, owing to ships not being allowed to discharge their cargoes at Plymouth and owing to a congestion of ships and of trucks at Avonmouth; that large numbers of dockers at Plymouth are in consequence unemployed; and whether he will allow ships to discharge cargoes of grain at Plymouth?

Captain Wallace

I am informed that there is no exceptional shortage of feeding-stuffs in the areas mentioned. In one case a vessel with a part cargo of barley destined for Plymouth and owned by the Ministry of Food was diverted to Avonmouth, where the balance of the grain, also owned by that Department, was required. With this exception there has been no diversion of cargoes from Plymouth. There is no congestion of ships or trucks at Avonmouth and the present lack of employment among dockers in Plymouth cannot therefore properly be attributed to the causes suggested by my noble Friend.

Mrs. Tate

Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman not aware that there is a great shortage of feeding-stuffs in many parts of the country, that such feeding-stuffs as are available are up by no less than £2 a ton in price, and that the present position of the farmer is absolutely intolerable?

Captain Wallace

That is not a question I can answer as Minister of Transport.