HC Deb 08 May 1940 vol 360 cc1230-2
57. Mr. Woodburn

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food what steps he proposes to take to ensure that the abattoir at Alloa is hygienically equipped to deal adequately with meat in the warm season; and whether he is prepared to consult with the Alloa Town Council with a view to speedy and effective remedy for the existing deficiencies?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

The question whether the arrangements made under the meat and livestock scheme in all parts of the country will be adequate when the warmer weather arrives has recently been under close examination by the Ministry's expert advisers. As regards Alloa, the Department's local officers are already in touch with the Town Council regarding certain improvements which they consider necessary.

58 and 60. Mr. Woodburn

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food (1) whether, in the North of Scotland area and the South of Scotland area, different arrangements are come to by the respective abattoir companies with local authorities regarding the use of abattoirs; and what steps he proposes to take to give all local authorities the best terms and conditions;

(2) what is the relationship between the Ministry and the South of Scotland Abattoir Company, 80, Milsborne Street, Glasgow; what persons form the company, with their respective salaries; and what steps he has taken to see that no surpluses have resulted from the working of the slaughter-houses in the counties of Clackmannan and Stirling?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

As the reply is necessarily a long one, I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the reply:

The Ministry of Food has entered into voluntary arrangements with local authorities in Great Britain for the use of public abattoirs on the broad basis that the Ministry pays the same rents or tolls as were paid previously by private traders in return for the same services rendered. The slaughtering is a separate issue and is undertaken by persons or bodies under contract with the Ministry, payment being on a rate per head of stock slaughtered. The Ministry has, as far as practicable, placed contracts with the class of persons who normally slaughtered at the slaughter-house concerned and as a result contracts have usually been placed with companies of butchers.

In Scotland the position is peculiar in that certain local authorities previously undertook the actual slaughtering of stock in the slaughter-houses owned by them. A local authority, which previously slaughtered the stock, has where possible been given the slaughtering contract, and I assume that the hon. Member has this fact in mind in referring to North Scotland. In South Scotland difficulty was experienced in securing suitable contractors to undertake slaughtering at some of the smaller slaughter-houses, and it was found necessary, in order to provide for slaughtering at these small slaughterhouses, to make a comprehensive contract and this was effected with the South of Scotland Abattoirs, Limited. It was not possible in the circumstances to allocate contracts to individuals or local authorities, in this area.

This Company, which was specially formed for the purpose of undertaking the Ministry's slaughtering contract, has a membership of 53 wholesale meat salesmen, livestock traders and retail butchers. I am not aware of the internal organisation and staffing of the company, but I understand that some of the members are employed as managers, supervisors, etc. Where the members are so employed they receive weekly wages.

The original contracts at all centres in Great Britain were of an experimental nature and expire at the end of the present month. Decreased rates will be operative in the new contracts. Costings inquiries are being carried out at the present time and the hon. Member may rest assured that the rates of payment will be kept closely under review.