§ 48. Mr. Keeling
asked the Minister of Food to what extent the posters, advertisements and films advising anybody knowing of rats to inform the local authorities emanate from his Department; whether he is aware that, in Middlesex, the county and borough authorities disclaim responsibility; and whether he has any statement to make?
§ Mr. Mabane
The Ministry of Food is responsible for the publicity referred to by my hon. Friend. In Middlesex the county council has, since 1919, been the authority responsible for administering the Rats and Mice (Destruction) Act, 1919, but it is at present delegating its powers to borough and district councils within its boundaries who are prepared to accept the delegation. I have no reason to believe that this arrangement is not now working satisfactorily.
§ Mr. Keeling
Is my hon. Friend aware that these advertisements and films appeared in Middlesex months before the local authorities were willing or ready to deal with any reports, and does he blame his Department or the local authorities?
§ Mr. Mabane
I do not think it was a case of months. I think the case to which my hon. Friend refers occurred about the moment when the delegation of responsibility from the Middlesex County Council to the borough councils was taking place. I think it is all right now.