HC Deb 21 February 1940 vol 357 cc1352-4
66. Mr. De la Bère

asked the Minister of Food whether, in regard to wheat offals produced from the milling of flour from wheat at the port mills, he will confer with the chairman of the Animal Feeding-Stuffs Board for the purposes of ensuring that these straight-run feeding-stuffs thus produced shall not be allocated only to the large manufacturers, but shall be distributed to the corn merchants and dealers throughout all the provincial areas and counties in the country?

Mr. W. S. Morrison

The matter is at present under investigation.

Mr. De la Bère

Does my right hon. Friend realise that this is a matter of the utmost importance? Does he further realise that one central and vital fact remains that equitable distribution is not taking place, and will he make inquiries as to what is taking place at the port mills as a result of processing wheat and why the wheat offals are not equitably distributed?

Mr. Morrison

I do realise the importance of this matter and that is why it is under investigation.

Mr. De la Bère

It can be done in 24 hours.

Sir F. Sanderson

My hon. Friend who asked the Question is quite incorrect when he states that the offals are used—

Mr. Speaker

We cannot debate the Question.

72. Mr. Jackson

the Minister of Food whether he is aware that corn merchants and farmers co-operative associations in Breconshire and Radnorshire are still unable to obtain any supplies of barley or maize whatsoever; and, in view of the fact that 66⅔ per cent. of these feeding-stuffs are now available for distribution, will he take steps to ensure immediate supplies to these counties?

81. Lieut.-Colonel Acland-Troyte

asked the Minister of Food whether he is aware that there is little, if any, improvement in the supply of animal feeding-stuffs in the County of Devon; what action he proposes to take with regard to this matter, and when it may be expected that the supply will reach two-thirds of the normal as promised by him?

Mr. W. S. Morrison

The improvement in the supply of feeding-stuffs in these areas has been retarded by shipping delays and internal transport difficulties due to the bad weather. Increased supplies have recently been made available and there will be a considerable improvement in the position as soon as the increased supplies reach the farmers through the usual channels of distribution. Though everything possible will be done to improve the position I am not able to add to my statement in the House on 25th January as to the percentage of normal supply which is likely to be available at ports in the immediate future and would add that the claims of dairy and beef cattle must continue to be preferred to those of pigs and poultry.

Colonel Burton

Is it not possible for my right hon. Friend to take this matter up, as in Suffolk we are absolutely without food for our pigs and poultry, and we are having to slaughter them?

Mr. Morrison

I am aware there have been difficulties in the distribution of feeding-stuffs recently. If my hon. and gallant Friend will communicate his special difficulty to me, I will do what I can to meet it.

Viscountess Astor

Is not my right hon. Friend aware that it is a national scandal?

77. Mr. Ridley

asked the Minister of Food whether he has considered the communications from Mr. F. Strawson, of Market Rasen, regarding the serious shortage of feeding-stuffs and the consequent death of a large number of his livestock; and whether he has any statement to make?

Mr. W. S. Morrison

Yes, Sir. The difficulties of the farmer in question seem to have been due in part to the fact that the number of his livestock has been considerably increased as compared with last year and that he was unable to use the normal supplies of feeding-stuffs on his farm owing to the heavy snowfall and the severe frosts. When my Department heard of this case, the farmer's suppliers were communicated with and a certain quantity of feeding-stuffs has been sent to him.

Mr. Ridley

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Press publicity given to this case has caused deep anxiety over wide agricultural areas, and will he state what steps are being taken to give farmers more confidence in this matter?

Mr. Morrison

I am not responsible for everything that appears in the newspapers, but as soon as this case came to our notice we did what we could to help this man.

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