HC Deb 23 November 1943 vol 393 cc1438-40
36 and 37. Lieut.-Commander Hutchison

asked the Minister of Food (1) on what basis the Scottish quota of turkeys for Christmas from Northern Ireland is to be distributed;

(2) whether his attention has been drawn to the protest made by butchers and poulterers in Edinburgh in regard to the proposed distribution of turkeys imported from Northern Ireland; and why the capital of Scotland is to be deprived of its fair allocation of these birds?

39. Mr. Touche

asked the Minister of Food whether he is aware that many retail butchers in Surrey have had their applications for Irish turkeys refused on the ground that they were situated outside the Metropolitan police area; and whether he will arrange for a more equitable distribution?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food (Mr. Mabane)

As the answer is long, I will, with the permission of the House, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Touche

Is it the case that retail shops in the home counties outside the Metropolitan Police area can supplies only if they are multiple shops?

Mr. Mabane

If the hon. Member will read the answer, which is very comprehensive, he will appreciate that the matter with which he is concerned is limited to a very small proportion of all the supplies of turkeys.

Following is the answer:

Turkeys are available for the public this year from three sources of supplies, Great Britain, Eire, and Northern Ireland. Turkeys produced in Great Britain and shipped from Eire, which together represent four-fifths of the total supplies, will not be limited in the area of their distribution. The distribution of turkeys produced in Great Britain, which constitute about one-half of the total supply, will remain as at present uncontrolled, except in regard to price, and should be available for purchase through the ordinary channels provided producers, traders and the public co-operate to assist in a fair distribution.

As regards turkeys from Eire, these are being sent, as was the case last year, to wholesalers in 11 large distributing centres, who will supply their retail and caterer customers wherever situated with their fair proportion based on pre-war purchases. The arrangements for the distribution of turkeys and other poultry shipped from Northern Ireland came into operation on 22nd November. It is understood that the turkeys expected to be received from Northern Ireland will amount to no more than one-fifth of the total supplies available in Great Britain. The Northern Ireland supplies will be directed to five Poultry Retailers' Buying Groups in Great Britain, which have been set up under the guidance of my Department by the trade organisations concerned. These groups will arrange for the allocation of supplies amongst poultry retailers in the Birmingham, Glasgow, Liverpool, and Manchester and Salford Food Office areas, and the London Metropolitan Police District. These areas, before the war, bought a large proportion of the Northern Ireland supplies.

All traders licensed to sell poultry by retail in the selected areas are eligible to receive supplies, provided they handled more than reasonable minimum quantities in either 1938 or 1939 and undertake to comply with the rules of the group. One of these rules is that traders shall sell all goods received to householder customers and to caterers in the same relative proportions as in the datum year and, as far as practicable, share supplies amongst the purchasers as were supplied in the datum year. The control of the supplies from Northern Ireland has been introduced to ensures that a much larger proportion should reach the domestic consumer than in previous war years. It has not been practicable at the outset to make arrangements for the reception of supplies in a larger number of areas than those selected, or for the allocation of supplies to traders in districts adjacent to those areas.