HC Deb 06 March 1940 vol 358 cc380-1
56. Mr. de la Bère

asked the Minister of Food the approximate amount of wheat processed at the port mills for the period from 1st January, 1940, to 1st March, 1940, and the approximate amount of wheat offals produced; and whether he will make a statement as to the methods pursued to ensure that equitable distribution of these wheat offals takes place throughout this country?

Mr. W. S. Morrison

It would not be in the public interest to publish the information asked for by my hon. Friend in the first part of his Question. In answer to the second part of the Question, on 4th December last all flour millers were asked, while carrying out the general policy of allocating supplies to customers according to pre-war deliveries, to arrange in particular for deliveries of wheatfeed in such a way as to even out any difficulties arising from the shortage of imported supplies. During the past two months special deliveries of wheatfeed have been made by certain port millers, at the request of the Ministry, to areas in England where imported supplies have been particularly short. Further arrangements are now under consideration whereby it is hoped to allocate a definite proportion of the whole output of home-produced wheatfeed for the purpose of equalising distribution throughout the country.

Mr. De la Bère

Is my right hon. Friend aware that it is not in the public interest to withhold the approximate figures and, further, that it is quite impossible to ensure an equitable distribution as long as these people are able to take cover behind figures which they are not compelled to disclose? Will he really take this matter seriously?

Mr. Morrison

I do not think it is in the public interest to state the approximate amount of wheat processed at the port mills. As to the second part of the hon. Member's Question, I think the arrangements which I have mentioned will improve the position.

Mr. De la Bère

Is the Minister aware that no action is being taken which is producing any effect, and that the position is getting worse and worse?

Mr. Morrison

No, Sir, I am not aware of that.

Sir Frank Sanderson

Is it not the case that over 60 per cent. of the offals are being distributed through normal channels?

Mr. Morrison

I think that is approximately right.

Colonel Burton

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that that is not the case in the Eastern counties?

Mr. De la Bère

Why not tell us the whole truth?