HC Deb 01 February 1940 vol 356 cc1263-5
48. Sir Francis Fremantle

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether it is the settled war-time policy of the Government to encourage the dispersal of the flocks of specialist poultry-keepers amongst general farmers, cottagers and back-yarders; and whether this is intended to increase the supply of eggs and poultry required for general consumption in the war?

The Minister of Agriculture (Colonel Sir Reginald Dorman-Smith)

The general policy of the Government was stated in the announcement of 22nd November last, a copy of which I am sending to my hon. Friend. A process of adjustment in the poultry industry is inevitable under wartime conditions and although there is likely to be some reduction in the output of eggs and poultry from specialist holdings, an increase in output is expected from other sources which should compensate to some extent for the decline from the former class.

Sir F. Fremantle

Does my right hon. and gallant Friend recognise that chickens and eggs are the basis of convalescent diet, and that, therefore, they would be required to a greater extent than in peacetime in case of really serious casualties in tin war?

Mr. Leslie Boyce

Is not my right hon. and gallant Friend aware that the proposed method of dispersal of poultry-keeping will seriously reduce the quantity and the distributive facilities of the eggs available and will result in time in acute shortages in the more populated centres?

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

We have to try and all our supplies of feeding-stuffs to the best possible advantage.

Sir F. Fremantle

Can some special effort be made to supply feeding-stuffs now that the hatching season is due to begin?