HC Deb 19 March 1940 vol 358 cc1782-3
3. Sir Granville Gibson

asked the Minister of Economic Warfare the total quantity of hides and goatskins seized up to 31st December, 1939; what proportion of the seizures has now been disposed of; and how much of the material seized has been exported from this country?

Mr. Cross

Since the answer to this Question involves a number of figures, I propose, with the hon. Member's permission, to circulate a statement in the Official Report.

Sir G. Gibson

Is my hon. Friend aware of the fact that thousands of hides are being allowed to deteriorate to the extent that they are absolutely useless for any purpose whatever, and that they could be used in the manufacture of Army needs in this country instead of being allowed to go rotten?

Mr. Cross

My information is that a very large quantity of these hides has already been sold precisely in order to avoid their perishing and becoming useless.

Sir G. Gibson

That may be so, but is it not a fact, if I may repeat my question, that apart from the sale thousands are allowed to go rotten, and that one of the ports where they have done so is Dundee?

Mr. Cross

I have no information to that effect, but if the hon. Gentleman can give me any information, I shall be glad to look into the matter.

Following is the statement:

In reply to the first part of the Question, from the beginning of the war to the end of 1939 some 890,000 hides and skins were seized in prize, with an estimated weight of 6,880 tons. These totals are made up. as follow:

Tons. Pieces.
Salted hides 3,710 166,208
Dry hides 1,985 181,896
Sheepskins 917 342,347
Goatskins 101¼ 75,000
Calfskins 46½ 26,040
Lambskins 101 75,413
Kidskins 19½ 21,840
6,880¼ 889,344

In reply to the second part of the Question, approximately 60 per cent. of the hides and 80 per cent. of the skins were disposed of up to 31st December, 1939. It is necessary to sell such goods in view of the rapidity with which they deteriorate in store. I regret that the information asked for in the third part of the Question is not available; but such information as I have shows that the proportion exported is small.

Forward to