HC Deb 21 March 1940 vol 358 cc2126-8
80. Mr. Kirkwood

asked the Minister of Food whether he is aware that there has recently been a shortage of beef in the Clydebank area; what steps he is taking to ensure that the workers in the heavy industries of this district who are performing work of national importance are adequately supplied with beef; and whether he will give an assurance that Scottish beef will not be sent to England until all Scottish needs have been supplied?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food (Mr. Lennox-Boyd)

The hon. Member is, no doubt, aware that the total supplies of beef are now less than in normal times because of the demands of our Fighting Services and those of France. I am advised that, making allowance for this shortage, butchers in the Clydebank have, in general, been able to meet adequately the requirements of their consumers. As regards the second and third parts of the Question, I am unable to give the suggested assurance. The total supplies of beef in the United Kingdom as a whole must be allocated so as to ensure an equitable distribution amongst all localities in relation to their special needs.

Mr. Kirkwood

Surely it is as important to keep men behind the front fed as it is to feed the soldiers? Is it not as essential that the Clyde workers as well as the soldiers should have beef?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

The Clyde workers are receiving the same proportion of beef as workers in any other industrial areas in the United Kingdom.

Sir T. Moore

If we send Scots to England to run England, ought we not to send Scottish beef?

Mr. Kirkwood

Is the Parliamentary Secretary not aware of the fact that, as stated in this Question, they are not getting the supply and that there are other parts better supplied than Clydebank, which is causing a great deal of discontent?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

In the Clydebank areas the butchers requisition of first-quality beef was met by 63 per cent. and by over 100 per cent. for first quality mutton. I do not think those figures compare unfavourably with those for other industrial areas.

Mr. Thorne

Can the hon. Gentleman tell us why the hon. Member wants the English people to get some of the Scots beef?

Mr. Kirkwood

Because England gets plenty of Scotsmen. England gets everything, and we have to keep something. We are simply off the map.