HC Deb 18 January 1940 vol 356 cc218-20
51. Mr. De la Bère

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he can now make some statement of the Government's intentions regarding schemes for the rationing of animals foodstuffs?

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

The examination of various proposals for the rationing of animal feeding stuffs is still proceeding, but I am not yet in a position to make a statement of the Government's intentions in this matter.

Mr. De la Bère

Is my right hon. and gallant Friend aware that this matter is an absolute disgrace, that poultry farmers and pig farmers are unable to keep their stocks, and that something must be done for them? Day after day I keep at this and nothing is done.

Mrs. Tate

In view of the tremendous slaughtering of poultry and pigs which is now taking place, can the right hon. Gentleman give us an assurance that, until we can have animal rationing, there shall be some control of slaughtering county by county, so as not to have a complete slaughtering now and a complete dearth later on?

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

The hon. Lady should not exaggerate the situation. So far as the other question is concerned, if the hon. Member himself will really sit down and examine this problem, he will realise how complex it is, and then I do not think that he will be quite so vehement.

58. Viscountess Astor

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, in view of the shortage of barley for animal feeding he will ration the amount of barley for breweries?

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Mr. W. S. Morrison)

I have been asked to reply. The matter is under discussion with representatives of the brewing industry and I am not yet in a position to make a statement.

Viscountess Astor

Might I ask the Prime Minister, who has said he does not care what unpopular thing he does in order to win the war, whether he will do another unpopular thing and have a good supply of food instead of a good supply of drink?

68. Mr. Wilfrid Roberts

asked the Minister of Agriculture what arrangements he proposes to make to ensure that existing supplies of animal feeding-stuffs are equitably distributed to farmers, and are used for the maintenance of those classes of livestock to which he wishes to give preference?

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

Available supplies of imported feeding stuffs are being allocated to distributors in proportion to their pre-war trade and they have been asked to distribute them to their farmer customers as equitably as possible. The statement of Government policy with regard to livestock and feeding stuffs issued on 22nd November—a copy of which I am sending to the hon. Member—was communicated to the distributive trade by the Ministry of Food and they were asked to follow the principles enunciated in that announcement in the distribution of the limited supplies available to them. I am advised that this request has been generally observed. Further proposals are under consideration with a view to improving the efficiency of the machinery of distribution and, in particular, to overcome the difficulties caused by diversion of cargoes.

Mr. Roberts

Does not the Minister think that farmers who have dealt with several merchants for their feeding stuffs have a great advantage without any rationing scheme, as they are able to get a certain amount from each firm with which they are dealing? Is he not aware of the great injustice there is in the supply of feeding stuffs to individual farmers, an injustice which cannot be met without some scheme of rationing?

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

Obviously we cannot get complete equality without some scheme of rationing.

Viscountess Astor

Should not some system have been brought in a long time ago?

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