HC Deb 30 October 1946 vol 428 cc713-54

9.4 p.m.

Mr. David Eccles (Chippenham)

I beg to move, That the Order, dated 5th September, 1946, amending the Feeding Stuffs (Rationing) Order, 1943, and giving Directions there-under (S.R. & O., 1946, No. 1490), a copy of which amending Order was presented on 8th October be annulled This is a most important Order, and I trust that a representative of the Ministry of Agriculture will soon be with us to deal with it. It is an Order which enables the Minister to cut the rations of balancer meal to certain classes of pig and poultry keepers. The cuts were announced on 4th June, nearly four months ago. Even if the cuts were justified on 4th June by the then supply position of feeding stuffs, even if it was wise then to make provision that, on 1st October, certain reductions in the ration should be made, I think I can show the House that there is no justification for such reductions now. This is not a party matter; it is simply a matter of trying to find the truth about the facts and figures of the feeding stuffs position, and then asking the House to decide whether the Minister's proposals, as contained in this Order, are sound or not.

To whom does the Order apply? It applies to 143,000 pig keepers who belong to nearly 5,000 pig clubs. It applies to 1,500,000 domestic poultry keepers, and to 21,000 small commercial poultry keepers. The House will see, therefore, that the decision we take tonight will affect 1,700,000 livestock keepers, and of course a very large additional number, it is unknown to us how many, of consumers of eggs and pig meat. Therefore, this is not at all a light matter.

What is the effect of this Order? The rations of the pig keepers are to be cut from the present maximum of 126 lb. if two pigs are kept to a maximum of 42 lb. a month however many pigs are kept. The rations of the domestic poultry keepers—the 1,500,000 people—are to be cut 60 per cent., from 5 lb. to 2 lb., and the House will know that this is the first time that the ration of the domestic poultry keeper has ever been cut. Not at the height of the U-boat war was it cut; only now, 15 months after peace and Socialism broke out together, are these people to be penalised. The ration to the commercial poultry keeper is to be cut 20 per cent. How much is being saved by these cuts? In round figures, the cut in the pig ration will save 40,000 tons, and the cut in the poultry ration 60,000 tons. Therefore, the total saving is 100,000 tons. What is it exactly that is being saved? It is balancer meal, and as the name implies this meal is required to balance kitchen waste, which is not a satisfactory food for pigs and poultry without the addition of this meal. Therefore, for every pound that the Minister takes off the ration of balancer meal, the effect is multiplied by the loss in the production value of the kitchen waste that would have been mixed with it. To put it in another way, the Minister could do nothing more expensive in terms of egg and pig meat production than to cut this particular ration to these particular classes of egg and pig meat producers.

In the Debate on 18th June the Minister of Agriculture, as the House will remember, defended these cuts on two grounds. In general terms, he said that circumstances outside his control—the great world food shortage—made it absolutely necessary to effect this saving in the consumption of feeding stuffs. I will say a word or two about that in a minute. The Minister also said that the domestic poultry keepers, these 1,500,000 people, could take the cut because they were now keeping two hens for every one which it had been intended that the ration should support. In other words, the Minister was saying that these poultry keepers had done a very efficient job, had doubled their target, and therefore could now take a cut. My hon. Friends and I recognise in these words of the Minister the man who cuts the piece-rates—the man who says "The job has been speeded up, let us slash the piece-rate." Does the hon. Lady the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food think that it makes sense for the Lord President, last Saturday, to go to Birmingham and talk like the capitalist he is about incentives and the profit motive, and then for the Minister of Food, on the following Wednesday, to come down to the House and slash the incentives and cut the piece-rate for these people? It simply does not make sense. We should give these people a fair award for pushing on so hard with their production in the war. I have no doubt that the hon. Lady will repeat the arguments used by the Minister, that the inscrutable workings of Providence have been against this country, and that through its workings we find ourselves short of these feeding stuffs. I have been examining the workings of Providence in other countries, and I have been reading the Report of the sub-Committee of the Economic and Social Council on the Reconstruction of the Devastated Areas. This most authoritative document was issued in London, on 12th September. From that document, we can see how the livestock population of the countries across the Channel is steadily increasing. We can see that the pig population of Holland, Belgium and France was, in 1944, a larger proportion of their prewar pig population than ours was in 1944. From that level they have steadily increased their pig population to the present time.

We can also see, in regard to poultry. that between May, 1945, and May, 1946, that poultry keepers have doubled their poultry. It is obvious how it has been done. They have fed to livestock, grain which they had imported, chiefly maize, from the Argentine, nominally for human consumption. Our Government has been made an honest fool of. We have stood out of the Argentine maize market, because we said the maize was not wanted here for human consumption. These other countries have bought the maize, and fed it to their livestock. It is clear from the Report that there is no other explanation for the growing stocks of birds and pigs across the water. I hope we shall not continue to say that the inscrutable workings of Providence have singled out this country, because it certainly is not true. It is true to say that Providence helps those who help themselves. The Governments of Denmark, Holland and France have helped themselves and their agriculture, whereas our Government have done little or nothing to ensure an adequate supply of feeding-stuffs.

Mr. Skeffington-Lodge (Bedford)

Does not the hon. Member agree that there is a greatly developed black market in those countries to which he has been referring, and that, generally speaking, there is a greater and fairer share of the ordinary necessaries of life in this country, as well as of the humbler luxuries?

Mr. Eccles

I certainly agree with the hon. Member, but the point is that there is no maize in this country to share. We have deliberately denied ourselves the supply of maize, which is one of the silliest things the Government have ever done. Now, supposing that last June, when these cuts were announced, it was a fact—which I do not admit—that the feedingstuffs situation was so critical that it was right and proper to make provision for cuts in the following October. Has nothing happened in four months which changes the situation? Two great things have happened which, in my judgment, make the present cuts unnecessary. First, on 22nd September last, the extraction rate of flour was reduced from 90 to 85 per cent. That has given to the Minister an additional supply of home-produced feedingstuffs, at the rate of 300,000 tons a year. The Minister did not know that in June. Why has he not given any of these 300,000 additional tons to the domestic pig and poultry keepers? We want to know where the 300,000 tons, which has been produced by increasing the extraction rate of flour, is now going.

A second thing has happened, which the Minister did not know in June. We have had a bad harvest and, as Members know, one of the results of a bad harvest is to increase the proportion of unmillable grain. The best estimate I can get from the grain trade is that our harvest this year will be nearly 2 million tons, and that the damaged grain, which is not millable, will yield at least 10 per cent. That means that farmers will have 200,000 tons of feeding stuffs from that source, which is more than they normally have. If farmers are to have this addition to their ration from unexpected sources, is it not all the more scandalous that none of the 300,000 tons coming from the flour mills is to be given to the small pig and poultry keepers? The argument is very strong against the Government, who ought not to treat this as a party matter, because we are here deciding the interests of a large number of people.

I can sum up the whole of my argument in this way. The day on which the cuts were announced was 4th June. That was too early a date on which to take a sensible decision. No doubt the Minister was driven to it by the panic in food supplies, but he could have waited three months. Had he done so, he would have known that the harvest in North America was excellent. He would have known that our own flour extraction rate was to be changed from 90 to 85 per cent., and that he would have a larger supply of feeding stuffs at his disposal. He would have known that we were to have a bad harvest, and that farmers would have a larger supply of feedingstuffs for themselves. Further, he would have had the report of the Economic and Social Council relative to Europe, which would have shown him that the livestock population of Europe is steadily building up, while ours is steadily falling. I cannot help feeling that if the Minister had had the assistance, of these facts he would not have made a cut in the ration. We ought not to treat this as a settled matter, on which we have to go into the Lobby on one side or the other. We ought to treat this matter on its merits. I am not alone in asking these questions; there are 1,700,000 people outside who are concerned and to whom an explanation is due.

9.20 p.m.

Mr. Hurd (Newbury)

I beg to second the Motion.

My hon. Friend the Member for Chippenham (Mr. Eccles) has put to the House the effects of the meagre allowances of feeding stuffs to domestic pig and poultry keepers. In my view, this action of the Government is further evidence of their lack of business acumen, which has saddled us with bread rationing. I am not trespassing beyond the bounds of this Prayer, because poultry feedingstuffs are very closely bound up with bread rationing. If the Minister of Food is saving the 20 per cent. which we hear about on flour, he is getting it by making it impossible to feed flour and oatmeal to hens and pigs. If he could have provided sufficient feeding stuffs for the small poultry flocks, we need never have had his bread rationing scheme. The only good thing that has come out of bread rationing is that it has stopped the illicit feeding of flour and oatmeal to poultry. So a steamroller was used to crack a nut.

Could not we have done as well as other countries in looking after our pigs and poultry? Mention has been made of Belgium, Denmark and Holland, and, I would also add, Sweden. I had the pleasure of visiting Sweden in company with the Minister of Agriculture at Whitsun. We were going over some farms, and at one farm we looked into the pig house. I said, "Tom, do you see what I see?" He looked—I am not sure if he did see it—but we finally agreed that there was flaked maize in the pig trough. I was surprised that a Swedish farmer was able to get maize at a time when I, in England, was unable to get maize. How did that come about? I inquired further, and so far as I could find out, Swedish farmers had insisted, through their Government, that feeding-stuffs should be made available for pigs and poultry. I think that their Government took a commonsense line, and used every possible endeavour to get it, and, in fact, did get it.

In tonight's "Evening Standard," I notice that the Board of Trade take credit for having arranged for a further series of goods to be imported from the United States. Among them are such commodities as mustard, olive preserves, tinned vegetables, tinned lobster and vegetable butter colouring. If we have dollars to buy these things, cannot we get in a bit of maize, which will enable us to do away the bread rationing scheme? We are fooling about buying these luxuries, which are other people's leavings. That is our weakness as buyers in the world today. When, in September, we managed to scrounge a little more feeding stuffs, I understood that it came out of some country's allocation which had not been taken up. That is a desperate position for Britain to be in. It looks to me as if we were taking merely the leavings of other countries' trade. Cannot we go out and buy, as Denmark, Sweden, Holland and other countries are doing? I am sure that we could.

I second this Motion because I believe that if the Government will give the trade buyers, who know this market, freedom of action, we can not only look after the interests of the small poultry keepers—who, after all, do love their hens and do want their eggs, and will go to great sacrifice to keep their hens—and also look after the interests of all of us by getting rid of bread rationing quite soon.

9.25 p.m.

Mr. Wilfrid Roberts (Cumberland, Northern)

The last time I spoke on a matter affecting the Ministry of Food, it was to support the Government on bread rationing. I believed that they had made out a case for it. I remember that on that occasion the Parliamentary Secretary was kind enough to comment favourably on some of the remarks I had made. Therefore, I hope she will not be offended tonight if I say that I am sorry neither the Minister of Food nor the Minister of Agriculture is present. I say that, with all due deference to the hon. Lady, because this is a matter which affects a very large number of people. I believe there are about 1,300,000 domestic poultry keepers, which is a very large number of householders. This Order affects them both as poultry keepers and as egg consumers. It is a question about which very many people feel very keenly. It affects a very large number of poultry. As far as the domestic poultry keepers are concerned, I think the number of poultry involved is about 11 million out of a total number of poultry, given in the statistics of the Ministry of Agriculture, of about 36 million in this country. Therefore, the Order affects a high proportion of the poultry on which we depend for our egg supplies. For these reasons I think it is a sufficiently important matter for the Ministers concerned to be present at this Debate.

It is also a part of the whole problem of imported feeding stuffs, which affects the farming community, who produce the food, and the whole of the consuming public. It affects the more specialised poultry industry, the small poultry farmers who are, of all classes in the agricultural community, those who have been worst hit during the war. They have had a most difficult time. I hope that the Ministry will be able to make some concession to the small poultry and pig keepers. They have had a very hard time. I cannot believe that the relatively small quantity of feeding stuffs involved cannot be found. I had hoped that between June and now the better prospects in many parts of the world would have made it possible for the Ministry of Food to find available feedingstuffs. I entirely agree with the hon. Member for Chippenham (Mr. Eccles) that what will happen this winter is that people who have poultry now will try to make do with the feeding stuffs—the cut is a heavy one—and the result will be that their chickens will be underfed and starved, and will not produce eggs, and what feeding stuffs there are will be badly used.

This would be a thoroughly inefficient situation. They are not going to cut down their numbers but hope that they will get through with their own and their neighbours' kitchen waste, and any other very poor quality food stuffs they can "scrounge" together somehow or another. The result of that is fundamentally wasteful because the two-fifths ration which will be provided will not produce the eggs. It will be a question of maintenance—just keeping the hens alive and not producing the eggs which the extra three-fifths would have produced. Thus we shall not get value for money from the food stuffs that are available.

I am told that if the Minister of Food could manage to purchase 10 per cent. of the American maize crop that would solve this problem and go far towards solving many other feeding stuff problems. I should like to ask, as other hon. Members have already asked, what is happening to the food stuffs which will now be at our disposal as the result of making available a larger proportion of millers' offals? I recognise that other livestock, particularly dairy cows, have a very considerable claim, but I also think that these poultry keepers have a considerable claim, too. There is another way in which this cut will affect rather different interests. The poultry industry has been hard hit during the war and the only way the specialist poultry keepers have kept going in these last few years is by supplying domestic poultry keepers with pullets. The poultry keeper producing the pullets is now going to suffer even more, and that will set back the breeding side of the industry so that when more feeding stuffs are available it will take longer for them to recover. From that point of view, too, I would press the Parliamentary Secretary to consider whether this matter cannot be re-examined and whether the full rigour of the heavy cut of more than 50 per cent. cannot be avoided. While it is true that specialist poultry keepers do not now suffer as seriously as previously, there is no other class of livestock which is being as hard hit as domestic poultry. The public need more variety in their food, but, surely, it is fundamentally bad to be buying the finished product. Eggs come from abroad; we are getting them from Denmark, America, and Canada. Do we get any from Poland?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food (Dr. Edith Summerskill)

A few.

Mr. Roberts

We are getting a few from Poland. Surely, it is wrong to buy the finished product at high expense when it would be possible to find the raw materials to keep these enterprising small people going? We are already using kitchen waste which will be inefficiently used unless it is supplemented by proper feeding stuffs. Is it not a mistake, in those circumstances, not to make every effort to obtain, somewhere in the world, this relatively small quantity of feeding stuffs to keep these enterprising people going and capable of carrying through this difficult winter? I hope that the Parliamentary Secretary will reconsider this question.

9.35 p.m.

Mr. Collins (Taunton)

Hon. Members on this side of the House do not need urging in regard to the importance of maintaining, and increasing, poultry and other food rations. I am sure that the Minister will be able to give us assurances as to the efforts that are being made in that respect. I submit, however, that it is not a case of the Government fooling about in this matter—to use the expression which fell from the hon. Member for Newbury (Mr. Hurd)—but that it is precisely because hon. Members opposite propose to fool about with it, that this Motion has been brought forward. Some extraordinary and utterly irresponsible statements have been made. The hon. Member for Chippenham (Mr. Eccles) has told us that if the Minister of Agriculture had waited until October, he would have known that we had had bad harvests and that there was a large quantity of unmillable corn, and that there had been good harvests in America; and he could have maintained the ration. I suggest that if the Minister had been so utterly improvident as to wait another three or four months, and if things had not turned out in that way, he would most definitely have been fooling about in a heartless way with the poultry industry.

Mr. Eccles

Does not the hon. Member realise that the cuts did not come into effect until October, and that there was plenty of time? The whole point of the charge against the Minister is that he made his decision in June to do nothing until October.

Mr. Collins

I do not accept the suggestion that the Minister made a decision in June to do nothing. He decided in June that cuts would have to come into operation in October. The point is not merely whether there have been good grain harvests in America or elsewhere, but Whether we get the grain into this country. Poultry cannot begin to eat the grain until we get it. The hon. Member entirely omitted to mention something stated by the Minister of Food this week, that it was because of difficulty of securing shipments from America, that the ending of bread rationing had had to be postponed. Another extraordinary statement made by the hon. Member for Newbury was that the only good thing we had got out of bread rationing was that it had stopped the feeding of bread to poultry and other livestock. That is a most amazing thing, especially since we have learned that 250,000 tons of flour were saved in ten weeks. Does the hon. Member suggest that the whole of that quantity was previously being fed to livestock? He gave an illustration from Sweden, which has secured a supply of maize. The hon. Member will know that conditions in Sweden have for a long time been very different from those in this country. It was further suggested that because the Board of Trade has been able to buy various kinds of domestic and household food we should have been able to spare the dollars for grain. It has been pointed out many times on this side of the House that it is not a question of dollars.

Mr. R. S. Hudson (Southport)

What is it a question of?

Mr. Collins

The point at issue is that an announcement had to be made, to give warning to poultry keepers and to other people interested in livestock, so that they could plan ahead. It would have been utterly wrong to leave matters until the Autumn and then to make an announcement because the cuts had become unavoidable. Until and unless the Minister of Food feels that these rations can be increased, as we all hope they will be as soon as possible, it will be completely wrong and entirely against the interests of poultry keepers to suggest or encourage the belief that the rations can be immediately increased.

9.40 p.m.

Mr. Gerald Williams (Tonbridge)

Surely it is accepted now that bread rationing was unnecessary? [HON. MEMBERS: "0h."] Hon. Members on this side of the House think that the only good it did was to prevent bread being fed to dogs and poultry and so on. The bread rationing scheme has been very upsetting to this country. The agricultural community have been promised time after time by the Minister that they shall have a long-dated policy, which will give them some form of security. In fact, he went so far as to refuse to give them an extra wheat acreage payment, for fear of giving them something they were not expecting, which might spoil their sense of security. So it is that the domestic poultry keeper and the small poultry keeper who want to feel a sense of security, are not getting it, with the cuts now being made, which will probably be cancelled along with bread rationing. The English people are prepared to make any sacrifice when it is necessary, and they are prepared to go hungry in time of war—

Mr. Shurmer (Birmingham, Spark-brook)

And in time of peace.

Mr. Williams

—but they feel now that they are being sacrificed for the trade of foreigners. Foreigners are able to get the food with which to feed their poultry, whereas we cannot, and there is a great deal of discontent in consequence—and very rightly so. It has been made clear tonight owing to the extraction rate being lowered, more offal will be freed for feeding to poultry and a great deal of unmillable wheat will be available. Many hon. Members have travelled abroad quite recently and seen an abundance of food almost wherever they have been—

Mr. Shurmer


Mr. Williams

Service men coming back from the Continent tell the same story—

Mr. Shurmer

We do not all stay in the best hotels on the Continent.

Mr. Skeffington-Lodge

Will the hon. Member deny that there are more fair shares of ordinary necessities in this country than in any other country in the world? I challenge him to deny that.

Mr. Williams

We have had a share-and-share-alike system in this country but many people can go into restaurants and get what they like—

Mr. Shurmer

Black market.

Mr. Williams

No hon. Member opposite will deny that there is plenty of maize in the Argentine, and that the reason we cannot get the maize in this country is the shortage of shipping. We should make shipping space available as a first priority in order to keep up our poultry stocks in this country. I ask the Parliamentary Secretary to realise the consequences which will follow this new Order. One of three things will happen. The poultry keeper will have to kill off many of his birds as time goes on. That is destroying capital. It is almost like pulling down a house because we have not electric light. We are destroying valuable capital and that will have a very drastic effect on the future of this country as a whole, let alone the poultry keepers. The second alternative is that the poultry keeper will have to feed his fowls on "bits and pieces." As a previous speaker has pointed out, this is entirely uneconomic. Bits and pieces from the household bit tubs are useful when balanced up with balancer meal, but without balancer meal it is like trying to ram oats into a good cow. If you have a cow giving four gallons of milk and you cram more and more oats into her, she will make very little response, but if you give her oats with some protein as well, she will probably give you—

Mr. Shurmer

Ice cream.

Mr. Williams

—nearly a half or one gallon extra. It is the same with balancer meal mixed with bits and pieces from the tub, but if there is no balancer meal, then the bits and pieces are wasted and the feeding is entirely uneconomic. The third alternative is for the ordinary domestic poultry keeper to buy rubbishy unrationed foods which are put on the market. At present you can buy bags of so-called poultry food at 10d. per lb. Only last June there was a firm offering meal made of grass and lucerne mixed, at the fabulous price of 40s. for one half of a cwt.

Mr. George Thomas (Cardiff, Central)

Private enterprise.

Mr. Williams

That works out at £80 a ton, and the discount allowed for selling that meal was 25 per cent., so that you were being offered £20 to sell one ton of meal made up of grass and lucerne.

Mr. Speaker

That is interesting, but is it affected by this Order?

Mr. Williams

I was trying to point out the consequences of this Order. If it is brought in, the ordinary domestic poultry keeper will be forced to buy these foodstuffs. However, I will not delay the House long on that subject. I was about to point out that the Government, by bringing in this Order, are deliberately driving the public into the hands of profiteers. I hope, therefore, that the House will consider very seriously tonight supporting this Prayer.

9.48 p.m.

Lieut.-Colonel Sir Walter Smiles (Down)

Last Thursday night I was speaking at a small meeting in County Down in Northern Ireland. There were plenty of questions from the audience on such subjects as Income Tax, bread rationing and health insurance, but I was rather surprised to find that I had also a tremendous lot of questions upon the cutting down of poultry food. According to one poultry farmer in that room, by cutting down this food now we shall have only about 40 per cent. of our young chicks next January, and that will have a disastrous effect upon our poultry stocks within the next two years. I sincerely hope that the party opposite—who I expect will support us in this Prayer—will realise that it will be much better for the people, who want a little change in their diet, and also for that very hard working community, the small poultry keepers of this country, if this Prayer is accepted.

9.50 p.m.

Lieut.-Colonel Thorp (Berwick-upon-Tweed)

I intervene tonight as I have noticed the tremendous change in the faces opposite. Apparently the new guard have come into the Chamber.

Mr. Shurmer

We belong to the old guard.

Lieut.-Colonel Thorp

Some of them apparently, have to do extra duty, because I see some of the same faces tonight. I would not otherwise have intervened, because I think that most of what could be said has already been said. But, when I saw the complete change on the opposite side, I thought it would be well to review some of the remarks that have been made. We have noticed that there has only been one speech so far from the opposite side of the House. I do not know whether the hon. Member was supporting the annulment of the Prayer, or the statutory regulation. Some of his statements were rather wild and some, as far as I could gather, completely inaccurate; but otherwise it seemed to be a most excellent speech.

In the country districts a tremendous number of people are interested in this Prayer. They have the feeling that although this regulation may have been necessary in the past, at the moment there is absolutely no necessity for this cancellation of feeding stuffs for poultry. They feel very strongly that the Government are overdoing the question of cutting down food for livestock for no reason that can be given which they could understand. Now that I have got the full explanation over to the new guard I will sit down.

9.51 p.m.

Lieut.-Commander Gurney Braithwaite (Holderness)

The case for this Prayer has been put with great ability by my hon. Friends the Member for Chippenham (Mr. Eccles) and the Member for Newbury (Mr. Hurd), reinforced by the arguments of the hon. Member for North Cumberland (Mr. W. Roberts). Since then we have had a contribution from an hon. Member opposite which, if it does nothing else, will do much to cheer the heart of the prospective Conservative candidate for Taunton.

Great Britain is now blessed with a Government of planners. Indeed their handiwork is evident in the situation which we are discussing tonight. In my constituency—[An HON. MEMBER: "Where is that?"]—in Holderness; the books of reference are open to hon. Members. It is the same constituency which I had the honour to represent in the last Parliament, and the same constituency which, subject to redistribution, I shall have the honour to represent in the next Parliament. Why hon. Members should seek to introduce these diversions, I do not know, unless the night shift are looking forward to overtime. In my constituency cattle cake coupons for the month of October were unduly late, and the explanation given was that the office of the hon. Lady the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food was too busily engaged stamping the word "nil" on the poultry rations. I understand they had borrowed the rubber stamp from the Ministry of Health housing returns of Ebbw Vale and other constituencies.

The hens have now got to live on fresh air and water—[HON. MEMBERS: "What about the cocks?"] I imagine that under Socialism, cocks will lay eggs. After all, we see in the feathered world the results of artificial nationalisation—[An HON. MEMBER: Do not crow about it."] Until 1st January, hens, which, for the benefit of hon. Members opposite, are the chief producers of eggs, have to live on air. Those which see the dawn of 1947 will view it with feelings, I imagine, rather like those of the Lord President of the Council when he went to Ireland. They will be able to have their first square meal for months, though their transport will not be paid for by the taxpayer. [HON. MEMBERS: "Cheap."] Hon. Members opposite seem to think that they have a monopoly of attack in these matters. They will hear a good deal more until a considerably later hour— [Interruption.] The Tory Party is made of sterner stuff. In endeavouring to achieve solidarity in the catering world—

Mr. Speaker

We have meandered over all sorts of things but we are actually discussing Statutory Rule and Order, 1946, No. 1490, and we should stick to that.

Lieut.-Commander Braithwaite

I apologise for having been led away by the irrelevancies of hon. Members opposite. The drastic cutting down of wheat offals has led to the wholesale use of oatmeal flour and subsidised potatoes for stock feeding. The rationing of bread and flour, the placing of oatmeal upon points, and the further unnecessary reduction in both pig and poultry rations has led feeders to employ the only cheap food left at their disposal—subsidised potatoes, which, I would submit to the hon. Lady, must, if it continues unchecked, lead to potato rationing in the near future. It may well be that the next appearance at that Box by the Minister of Food will be to announce a further fair sharing of misery—the rationing of potatoes.

The ridiculous ration of 28 lb. of meal per month to fatten a pig for bacon, after 56 lb. has been allowed from eight weeks upward, is totally inadequate for the last two or three weeks of the fattening period, and drives perfectly respectable citizens to all sorts of ingenious devices to complete the fattening process. The wider the area of control the wider the area of evasion. That is the lesson of the 15 months of Socialist rule in this country. I suggest that the complete failure, the abject failure, of the Government to provide sufficient food to complete the fattening process—[HON. MEMBERS: "Stop reading."]—I do not know to what hon. Members object. If I speak without referring to my notes probably I shall take longer. I am prepared to do that but I am merely trying to save the time of the House. Another hon. Member referred to the lack of variety in our diet. He pointed out that eggs would do much to vary that monotony. The House will recall that on the first occasion the Minister of Food spoke to the nation over the air he announced that as his chief objective. He gave us a charming picture of his domestic life and said how monotonous his family found the food. "I am going to do my best," he said, "to introduce variety." That did much to cheer my household. I said, "If variety is what we want the new Minister is the man for the job. He is the man—ex-Tory, ex-follower of Mosley, ex-Communist and now Labour Minister—he is the man for variety." I suggest that it will not be long before a second Minister of Food is "shot down." In the meantime the House can take a useful preliminary step by annuling this Order.

10.1 p.m.

Mr. Drayson (Skipton)

To my mind this Order is the death warrant on 15 million head of poultry. Not only that, but it is equivalent to a very heavy fine on 2 million poultry keepers whose only crime would appear to be that they have struggled through six years of war and one year of Socialism, and kept alive their small stocks of poultry. These poultry keepers supply registered customers, numbering about 6 million. They are faced with a very considerable loss. I am sorry that I shall have to tell many of my constituents who have written to me on this subject that, when we discussed this important subject, neither the Minister of Agriculture nor the Minister of Food found it possible to be present. The Minister of Agriculture evidently does, or did, take a serious view of this problem, because on 4th June he said that very tragic and almost disastrous cuts would be enforced. He realised that this affected for the first time what he termed "the backyard poultry keepers." There have been other statements from time to time by the Minister of Food, and I will remind the House of them in a moment.

These statements gave the backyard poultry keepers, and the larger ones as well, reason to believe that they could go ahead and increase their head of poultry. What was the particular encouragement? On 5th December, 1945, Sir Ben Smith, the then Minister of Food, informed this House that farmers' rations of feeding stuffs for pigs and poultry would be increased as from 1st May, 1946, from one-quarter to one-third of the 1939 supplies. Again, on 19th December, the same Minister informed Parliament that there was no need to raise the extraction rate of flour above the existing 80 per cent. Of course, the House, and the agricultural members of the community, well knew that an increase of five per cent. in the extraction rate of flour would deprive the agriculturist of at least 300,000 tons of feeding stuffs. Then, we had the first betrayal by this Government on this subject, when, on 5th February, 1946, the Minister of Food had to inform Parliament that the extraction rate would be increased up to 85 per cent., and the Minister of Agriculture, at that time, made an announcement to the effect that this would reduce from one-quarter to one-sixth the amount of feeding stuffs that farmers expected in respect of pigs and poultry.

Finally, on 4th May, it was announced by the Minister of Food when he had to put up the extraction rate to 90 per cent., that the poultry ration would be decreased from one-sixth to one-twelfth later in the year. The background to this problem is that, before the war, in 1939, we had a poultry population of 74 million. At the end of the war, in December, 1945, that population had fallen to 45 million, and now I feel that, with the cuts that are facing the industry, the population will be little more than 30 million by the time this winter is over. I hope, and I feel confident, there will be a proportionate fall in the support throughout the country which the present Government are enjoying.

Reference has been made to the situation overseas. Many hon. Members of this House, and of the public, have had the opportunity recently of going abroad, either for the purpose of furthering our export trade or some other cause dearer to their hearts. What is the situation that is to be found in some of the countries which had been recently occupied by Germany?

Mr. George Thomas

On a point of Order—

Mr. Speaker

I was about to say that the hon. Member for Skipton (Mr. Dray-son) is going quite outside the scope of the Order, and that he must keep within the bounds of the Order itself.

Mr. Drayson

I leave the question with the remark that it is possible to buy these commodities overseas—

Mr. Speaker

But that has nothing to do with this Order. The hon. Member must confine himself to what is in the Order and nothing else.

Mr. Drayson

The question with which I am dealing is that of feeding stuffs for pigs and poultry. We, on this side of the House, condemn the Government for not having purchased these feeding stuffs in the countries in which we all know they are available. [HON. MEMBERS: "Where?"] I am asked where they are available, and I will now read from a document which I feel sure has been sent to all hon. Members of this House from a society representing the poultry keepers in this country, though it may be that hon. Members have not read it, if they do not read the bulk of their correspondence.

Major Cecil Poole (Lichfield)

On a point of Order. Does the purchase of feeding stuffs from overseas arise on this Order?

Mr. Speaker

I am not sure about that. I was not listening, I confess.

Mr. Drayson

I was asked by hon. Members opposite in which countries feeding stuffs were available. The extract to which I refer goes as follows. The writer admits that some form of rationing is necessary, but he goes on to say: From what I have seen in the Sudan, the Congo—

Hon. Members


Mr. Speaker

If the hon. Member continues to wander all over the place, I shall have to ask him to resume his seat.

Mr. Drayson

I was trying to convey to the Government information as to where these feeding stuffs are available, so that they need not proceed with this Order, but, in view of your Ruling, Mr. Speaker, I will leave that point.

We have heard of the difficulty that householders have experienced in keeping their hens alive during the past few years. I, myself, am one of those backyard keepers. Until recently, my flock numbered seven hens, but I was sorry to find the other day that some of them had given up the unequal struggle of trying to remain alive on the available feeding stuffs, and only three are now in existence. Some time ago, I thought I would give them a treat and I threw them a handful of maize. It would appear that they had never seen this commodity before and were quite unable to deal with it. In fact, they were as disconcerted about the maize as was my own small child of six when she saw her first banana the other day. I wish it were possible for the Government to consider some form of compensation for the many poultry keepers.

Mr. Speaker

I must point out to the hon. Member that compensation does not come within the Order at all.

Mr. Drayson

In that case, Mr. Speaker, I content myself by saying that both classes of poultry keepers who have been discussed tonight, and who are very deeply affected by this Order, will suffer a great loss. We have recently heard a lot about the "closed shop." I suggest that by this Order the Government are imposing a "closed coop." If they cannot produce the houses, at least they can produce the chicken feed.

10.13 p.m.

Mr. Snadden (Perth and Kinross, Western)

I wish, very briefly, to put a point which might provide a solution to our problem. I support this Prayer because I think the whole feeding stuff position is quite ridiculous in the light of the knowledge which we have in regard to world opportunities. I suggest to the hon. Lady, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food, that this problem could be solved if the Ministry had the courage to reduce further the extraction rate of wheat by five per cent. We all know that the high extraction rate of five per cent., up or down, means 300,000 tons of offal. This latest drastic cut, starting from October and imposed on domestic poultry keepers for the first time, is estimated to reduce the ration by 40 per cent. as compared with 1945. At the very best, as far as I can see, the output of pig meat is likely to fall to the lowest level ever reached during the war, while the recent output of eggs will be lost and will not be regained. Further, the build-up of our livestock policy, from the point of view of agriculture in general, is going to be set back, long after the grain shortage has passed away.

The decision taken in June was taken in a time of acute shortage. At that time, figures were produced which showed that we were up against a very difficult position. Some may have felt that there was reason then for the steps that were taken. But that state of affairs no longer persists today. What is the position? The official crop of wheat in the United States is the best since 194o; it is a record crop. Of course, the reserves in that country have to be made up—I admit that—but nevertheless, we have to take into account that in America there has been a record crop of wheat. In Canada, our principal source of supply of wheat, the crop is 44 per cent. up on 1945. Admittedly, the 1945 crop was light, but nevertheless, 44 per cent. is a very great increase. In Europe the production has been raised by 30 per cent. on 1945. What about the Far East where, I am told, the production of rice, a very important commodity, has made a very considerable recovery? I deduce from that, that because of the increase in rice production in the Far East, the consuming countries will not require to import nearly as much wheat as hitherto.

Balancing all those facts, and putting them all together, where is this shortage of wheat about which we hear so much? I believe the Minister of Food was right when he decided to lower the extraction rate of wheat before taking off bread rationing, because by so doing he has made provision to maintain, as far as he can, our milk output during the winter, which is the time when we want it. I suggest to the Parliamentary Secretary that if bread rationing is to be continued, the extraction rate of wheat might be reduced by a further five per cent. By so doing a further 300,000 tons of offal would be freed. Not only would this Order be annulled, but we would also go a very long way towards averting the very great difficulties which confront us. I ask the Parliamentary Secretary to tell the House why our wheat extraction rate cannot be reduced in order to get these offals and feeding stuffs, and so annul this Order.

10.17 p.m.

Mr. Osborne (Louth)

I notice that hon. Members opposite have treated this matter with levity. I assure them that the people in the countryside do not think it a laughing matter. North Lincolnshire, which I have the honour to represent, has in the past been regarded as "the county of three P's," in that it was famous for its pigs, potatoes and poultry. In recent years a further P has been added for its peas. The people of Lincolnshire are beginning to fear that they will lose their lead in pig and poultry production and they are alarmed at this Order, which they want annulled. I have not risen merely to provide hilarity for hon. Members opposite, but because my constituents have asked me to oppose this Order. I would remind the House that to the farm worker—and there are representatives of farm workers opposite—the pigs and poultry they keep are very important factors in their incomes, and it is very important that these should be maintained. The extra supply of food that the agricultural workers have is very important in keeping them on the land, and if that advantage of extra food is taken away they are more likely to drift to the towns which is the last thing we want. I therefore support this Prayer on behalf of the agricultural workers whom I represent.

Also in my constituency there is a number of pig clubs. The members of those pig clubs during the war did a very good service to the country by saving their scraps and providing food for pigs. They deserve better treatment than they are getting. They feel that they are getting a raw deal. They asked me to get up in this House and say so. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Taunton (Mr. Collins), in the only speech from the other side of the House, said that this shortage of feeding stuffs was not a question of dollars Then of what is it a question? Why is it that the poultry keepers and pig keepers cannot have what they regard as a reasonable supply of feeding stuffs? We understand that in North America there has been a record crop. Why could not we have our fair share of it?

Reference has been made to the ample supply of feeding stuffs abroad, and various hon. Members opposite have interjected that hon. Members here got their experiences only from the luxury hotels abroad. I was in Italy for some time at Easter, and I travelled between Turin and Milan in the North and Naples in the South. I saw a good deal of Italian agriculture, and there was no shortage of feeding stuffs there. Italy lost the war and we won it, but a Socialist Government have brought us to this. The hon. Member who seemed to enjoy interrupting so much tonight, mentioned sharing equally. We are sick of sharing Socialist misery. We want work. May I just say this to the hon. Lady who is to reply? The excuse will be that there is a world shortage, that there are difficulties. Who wants to be governed by a set of Jonahs? What the people in the countryside feel is that somehow, either through incompetence or neglect, they are not getting as fair a share of the world supply as they ought to, and they have asked me to do what is my duty, and what I am very pleased to do, namely, to pray against this Order.

10.22 p.m.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food (Dr. Edith Summerskill)

Those hon. Members who have examined the Order will, I think, agree with me that it is a very short administrative Order. After hearing the speeches of hon. Gentleman opposite I suspect they have prayed against it, not because they feel very seriously about the plight of the people concerned—

Hon. Members


Mr. Frank Byers (Dorset, Northern)

On a point of Order. Is it in Order for a Minister at that Box to make an imputation against all hon. Members on this side of the House, many of whom feel very seriously indeed about this matter?

Mr. Speaker

I have often heard imputations made against other sides. That is part of politics. I think perhaps I might read out this little paper, which says: We should never get mealymouthed or frightened about little tiffs that occur in the course of our affairs. I do not need to tell the House the author of that statement.

Mr. Turton

Further on that point of Order, Mr. Speaker, may we have it quite clear? Is it in Order for a Minister to impute a base motive against a Prayer?

Mr. Speaker

A Minister may impute a base motive against a party, but not against any individual. It may be done against a group of persons, unquestionably; that has often been done.

Mr. Turton

Surely when a Private Members' Prayer has been put down, the imputation of a base motive against that Prayer is to impute that base motive to those hon. Members who have put down the Prayer.

Mr. Speaker

I am not quite sure what words the Minister used. I am not quite sure whether the words "a base motive" were used. Could I ask the hon. Lady, what was the word she used?

Dr. Summerskill

I must confess I have forgotten. I must also say, Mr. Speaker, after being in the House for eight years, I had no idea that the hon. Gentlemen opposite were so sensitive.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter (Kingston-upon-Thames)

Will the hon. Lady make it perfectly clear that, if she attributed any element of insincerity to hon. Members, that imputation is now withdrawn? [HON. MEMBERS: "Certainly not."]

Mr. Speaker

That is not a point of Order, but a question to be addressed to the hon. Lady, and not to me. If what she said was that hon. Members opposite were perhaps more interested in their constituents' affairs than she thought the Debate warranted, she was perfectly in Order.

Mr. Godfrey Nicholson (Farnham)

The hon. Lady went far enough to impute to hon. Members on this side unworthy motives, to suggest that they were insincere, and that their speeches meant something different from what their words expressed. I suggest, very humbly, to you, Mr. Speaker, that that was out of Order.

Mr. Speaker

I have often heard that said about a party by hon. Members on the other side. It is common form in this House, though, perhaps, not very desirable. To say it against an individual Member would be out of Order, but to say it against a party is, of course, done by both sides.

Dr. Summerskill

I think that if[HON. MEMBERS: "Withdraw."] Perhaps hon. Gentlemen will be quiet, and let me finish a sentence. Hon. Gentlemen opposite have probably accused women very often of not being able to hold their tongues. If, tonight, they will be a little quiet and let me finish a sentence, perhaps they will not feel it necessary to be so heated. What I was going to say—and I think I am justified in saying it—was that, judging from the speeches that have been made from the opposite Benches, hon. Gentlemen opposite are more concerned with attacking the Government, and with continuing the Debate on world food problems which was initiated in June, than with applying themselves to this particular Order. I think anybody listening to this Debate, listening to the very weak contributions that have been made, listening to hon. Members wandering from the question of the closed shop to that of their children eating bananas and to chickens in the coop, will agree with me that their speeches have shown that they have not studied this problem and that they do not know the facts. The hon. and gallant Member for Down (Sir W. Smiles) said he hoped the Ministry would be kind to the people of Northern Ireland and asked that the poultry keepers there should not suffer, and so on. But this Order does not apply to Northern Ireland.

Sir W. Smiles

I only inform the House that at a meeting I attended last Thursday this question was raised. At any rate, the feeding of poultry there has been cut down, and there will be less chicks in Northern Ireland next year than there were last year. I think the Government there act as the agents of this Government.

Mr. Speaker

The hon. and gallant Gentleman is making imputations against another Government.

Dr. Summerskill

I am sure the hon. and gallant Gentleman will go back to his constituents and comfort them. Then the hon. Member for North Cumberland (Mr. W. Roberts)—

Mr. W. Roberts

Does it apply to North Cumberland?

Dr. Summerskill

I am only proving my contention that hon. Members have not really studied the subject. Their speeches have evoked a good deal of merriment from this side, and I think they have not been of a serious character—

Mr. Roberts

May I ask the hon. Lady whether she considers that my speech was not of a serious character?

Dr. Summerskill

I wish hon. Members would wait until I had finished. The hon. Member asked, for instance, why we were not getting 10 per cent. of the maize crop from the United States of America. He comes to this House and he quotes figures, and surely we have every right to believe that the hon. Member knows what he is talking about. The 1946 crop of maize in the United States of America was 8o million tons. The hon. Member says we should import 8 million tons. I want to remind him—and he should surely know this—that our average imports of maize for the five years before the war was 3 million tons, mostly from the Argentine. Those are the facts and, therefore, when the hon. Gentleman gets up and charges us with being irresponsible and asks why we did not make these vast purchases, I draw his attention to the facts.

I must admit I find it difficult to follow the inconsistencies of the Opposition. Only a few weeks ago they were opposing bread rationing, although they must know that the more wheat there is in the world the more speedily can coarse grains return to their use as feeding stuffs. On the one hand, they oppose bread rationing which saves grain which can eventually be used for human beings. On the other hand, they come here tonight and demand that we shall use more feeding stuffs. Obviously you cannot reconcile the two things.

Mr. Osborne

We are getting neither.

Dr. Summerskill

Many hon. Gentlemen opposite have championed the domestic poultry keeper, and quite rightly. I, like the hon. Gentleman opposite, am a domestic poultry keeper. He has seven hens; I have eight. I want to tell the House that I bought my hens after these cuts had been announced, I have such confidence in the use of balancer meal which, as the hon. Gentleman quite rightly says, balances kitchen waste.

I should like to remind the House of the history of the domestic poultry scheme. The original monthly ration issued to domestic poultry keepers was four pounds per bird. This was later amended to four pounds per shell egg registration surrendered, because it was felt that the domestic poultry keeper was in a rather privileged position. Then, in June, 1943, the monthly allowance was increased to five pounds. In that sense, then, the domestic poultry keeper has not suffered any cut. But early this year it became necessary to divert coarse grains entering into international trade to human consumption, and also, as has been mentioned here tonight, to increase the extraction rate from 8o per cent. to 85 per cent., with consequential reductions in the rations to commercial pigs and poultry. Later, the extraction rate had to be increased from 85 per cent. to 90 per cent. All these measures, of course, reduced the available supplies of animal feeding stuffs, and further reductions had to take place not only in the rations for commercial pigs and poultry but also for almost all the important classes of stock, including domestic poultry. As time went on, it soon became apparent that the original intention to increase the rations of pigs and poultry could not be carried out. Finally, in June, when the supply position could be more accurately assessed, the Ministry of Agriculture announced their intention to reduce all rations, including the domestic poultry ration. We had to wait until June before we could accurately assess the position.

Since these cuts came into operation, on 1st October, a slight improvement in the position has taken place. That has been mentioned by nearly every hon. Member who has spoken tonight. The improvement has been the reduction of the extraction rate from 90 per cent. to 85 per cent. The hon. Member for Chippenham (Mr. Eccles), who moved the Motion, asked me why the increase in miller offals, which of course must follow the reduction in the extraction rate, could not be used. With all respect to the hon. Member, he has forgotten one important fact, namely, that any increase of this kind has to go into the pool, and when we are being allocated feeding stuffs, our available supplies are considered before the International Emergency Food Council makes an allocation. [HON. MEMBERS: "0h."] Hon. Members opposite must not disregard international organisations. We shall not have peace until hon. Members opposite learn to respect international organisations, and if they sneer at an international food organisation, then they are capable of disregarding any international organisation. Hon. Members who have mentioned the extraction rate, have forgotten one important factor. Whereas during this bad harvest there has been more unmillable wheat, our barley harvest has suffered.

May I remind the House of the figures, in order to convince hon. Members of the seriousness of our position? On 1st September, 1946, the estimated harvest of barley was 1,964,000 tons. On 1st October the estimate had to be revised downwards, the new figure being 1,787,000 tons. This compares with a final crop figure, for 1945, of 2,108,000 tons. When hon. Members ask why we have not increased the ration in view of the fact that the extraction rate had been reduced, and in view of the fact that there is more unmillable wheat, they have forgotten the important factor of the reduction of barley.

Mr. Snadden

What about the tremendous crops in America and Canada?

Dr. Summerskill

I should like to say something on that, as someone accused us of not having the right kind of business people working for the Ministry. We employ business men who have spent their whole lives in doing this job. Hon. Members are not accusing some civil servants of being incapable of buying grain from another country, but are accusing business men who bought it when hon. Members opposite had a large majority in this House. I am glad to say that, in order to maintain the milk supply, it is now possible to reduce the degree of self-sufficiency of dairy cows in cereals from1¼ to 1⅛ and to reduce the self-sufficiency of dairy cows in protein foodstuffs from one gallon to a half gallon. So far as protein is concerned this puts the ration for dairy cows on the same level as in the winter of 1945. In the case of cereals the self-sufficiency is increased to one-eighth of a gallon. I give these figures to hon. Members because I think it important for them to realise that, whereas we may be saving grain and not giving perhaps a ration of cereal which they would like to see go to the poultry keepers, we are helping the dairy farmers.

Mr. York (Ripon)

Is the hon. Lady talking about grain or offal, or is she muddling them?

Dr. Summerskill

I am not muddling them, but the hon. Gentleman is. When one talks about offals, one usually specifies them. Many hon. Members have said that the housewives would like a varied diet. Of course they would. We would like to give them eggs and bacon for breakfast. But if the housewives of Britain had to decide between eggs and bacon for breakfast, and their milk ration, they would be in favour of not having the eggs and bacon. I feel that it is absolutely essential to help the dairy farmers, in order to maintain our milk supply. Further, it has been possible this year to make imports of certain commodities which have been denied us in the past. Again, hon. Gentlemen who suspect that our business men are not as efficient as they might be, would like to hear that rice bran, locust beans, and imported millers offals are coming into this country again.

Mr. W. Roberts

Can the hon. Lady tell us how much, in tonnage, the increase in foodstuffs on milk is, and what exactly is the figure in tons saved on the domestic poultry ration?

Dr. Summerskill

I cannot give the milk figure to-night. I think the domestic poultry keepers were getting 15,000 tons, but now they will be getting 6,000 tons. [HON. MEMBERS: "A year?-] No, a month. The ration is given monthly. Before, the domestic unit was five pounds, now it is two pounds, and 3,000 tons is saved for every pound reduction.

Major Legge-Bourke (Isle of Ely)

The hon. Lady mentioned the matter of imported millers' offal. Would she say whether the Emergency Food Council allocates to this country imported flour or grain? I am not clear from her previous answer whether or not the amount saved by the bread rationing had to go hack to the central pool. If the grain had been sent back, does the Emergency Food Council reclaim on anything we save?

Dr. Summerskill

The International Emergency Food Council allocates all grain and feeding stuffs. [An HON. MEMBER: "To whom?"] I would ask the hon. Gentleman to examine these things a little more thoroughly, and perhaps if he goes back to the Combined Food Board and examines the composition he will have the answer to his question.

Sir Ian Fraser (Lonsdale)

May I ask the hon. Lady a perfectly serious question? If the International Committee is to distribute this grain, and our chickens are not to get any, which nation's chickens are going to have it?

Dr. Summerskill

Most of the nations of the world are members of the International Emergency Council today. The future ration is entirely dependent on our ability to import as there are no further home supplies which can be made available for use.

The imports of wheat, if sufficiently high, might permit of a further reduction in the flour extraction rate of 80 per cent. This would be a great help in increasing the available supply of millers' offals. If we can import in future, if world conditions permit, which means that allocations will go up, we shall be able to reduce the extraction rate, and we shall have more millers' offals.

We must remember that the world situation in regard to grain indicates that at least for the year 1946–7, the diversion of a considerable quantity of coarse grain from animal feeding to human consumption will have to take place. I make no secret of it. Next year, there will be food shortages throughout the world. We have now td decide how we shall allocate our available feeding stuffs. The production of milk has always been considered as having a priority claim on the supplies of animal feeding stuffs. We believe that this is essential before embarking on an increase in pig and poultry rations. Domestic poultry keepers, as a class, have been enjoying special privileges, as the cut was not made in their allowances until the introduction of this Order. The five pounds of feeding stuff for each surrendered egg registration was given in 1943, and the domestic poultry keeper has not suffered any cut since then.

When hon. Members opposite demand that an increase should be given to this class of people, they must remember that there will be an instant demand to increase the domestic pig ration, which has also suffered a cut, and also the allowances to pig clubs. If the demand is met, this would mean that the whole level of rations would have to come under review. Any increase in the ration for a particular type of livestock would mean a decrease for others. When the hon. and gallant Member for Down (Sir W. Smiles) addresses his constituents, I ask him to ask housewives whether they would prefer a cut in their bacon and eggs, or their milk. I am convinced that they will accept the Government's decision to maintain the milk supply. Of course, we deplore the cuts, but they are inevitable at a time of widespread food shortage, when human beings are compelled to consume grain which is normally used for feeding animals.

Further, when hon. Members opposite ask that their pigs and poultry should be fed, I would remind them that India has prohibited completely the export of groundnuts. Are hon. Members telling the House that their pigs and poultry must be fed before Indian children? That is the isuue before them. The Government believe that human beings must have priority, and therefore, I ask the House to reject the Motion.

10.50 p.m.

Mr. R. S. Hudson (Southport)

I can quite well understand why the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Agriculture has not seen fit to be present at this Debate to-night. He has a very special responsibility for the domestic poultry keeper and the domestic pig keeper, because, during the Coalition days when he was Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry, one of his chief tasks was to favour, help and promote, in all ways, the growth of that movement; and it was very largely as a result of the help that he gave, for example on the question of pig clubs, that Mr. Alec Hobson, the Secretary, was able to report an increase from something under 500, to something over 4,000. The same thing was true, to a very large extent, of the growth of backyard poultry. It is not by any means—I am giving no secret away—the first occasion during the last six years on which the question of the rations to be devoted to these individuals has come under discussion. Neither is this the first occasion during that period on which the country has been faced with shortage of wheat and grain. More than once during the war, our stocks got down to perilously low figures, and, on every such occasion, the question was raised whether or not a further cut should be made in the ration which had been accorded to domestic pig and poultry keepers. No one—again giving no secret away—was stouter in his defence and his refusal to agree to those cuts than the present Minister of Agriculture. He fought inside the Government for those people. The Government, in those days, wanted to cut the rations from, for example, the increased level of 5 lbs per head but the present Minister of Agriculture fought hard to prevent that, and he succeeded.

I believe that a large number of individuals throughout the country will regret two things: They will regret, first of all, the levity with which this Debate has been treated by hon. Members opposite, and they will regret still more the fact that the present Minister of Agriculture is not so tough as Minister of Agriculture, as he was when he was Parliamentary Secretary. If he were, we should not he having these cuts, because they are totally unnecessary.

Mr. Alpass (Thornbury)

What about the world situation?

Mr. Hudson

I will tell the hon. Gentleman about that in a moment, if he will contain himself. My hon. Friend the Member for Chippenham (Mr. Eccles), and other hon. Members, mentioned 1,500,000 as the number of domestic poultry keepers. That is true. But that does not represent the families involved. The hon. Lady knows perfectly well—at least the Department know perfectly well—that well over 4 million people are actually involved, because, on the last figures published, well over 4 million shell egg registrations had been given up. Every one of those 1,500,000 domestic poultry keepers, in fact, provides eggs for two, if not three per family, or for their neighbours. Therefore, the total number of people who will be affected by the cut is very considerable. When hon. Members laugh and jeer, as they have been doing tonight, it is as well that their constituents throughout the country should realise the levity with which hon. Members opposite are treating this matter. In the considerable number of years that I have been in the House, I have very rarely heard such a miserable defence as that put forward by the Parliamentary Secretary. When she was asked some questions by some of my hon. Friends about what was happening to 300,000 tons of offals that were gained as a result of the reduction in the extraction rate of flour from 90 per cent. to 85 per cent., she said that that increase was taken into account by the Combined Food Board when they were making allocations.

There are two answers to that statement. The hon. Lady might have used that argument some weeks ago, but for her to use it tonight, on the very morrow of our being told that the United States authorities have thrown all allocations to the winds, is hardly treating the House with the respect that it deserves. The hon. Lady went on to say "Oh, but you have to remember that although we have gained some 350,000 tons of feeding stuffs by this reduction in the extraction rate of flour, we have lost some 300,000 tons of barley." Is she seriously suggesting that when we gain feeding stuffs on extraction that is taken into account by the Combined Food Board, and when we lose by a bad crop of barley, that is not to be taken into account? Is the hon. Lady seriously suggesting that our representatives in Washington are so inefficient that they are prepared to accept a system under which we lose both on the swings and on the roundabouts?

Dr. Summerskill

The right hon. Gentleman says in one breath that they are not allocating, and then in the next breath says that they are going to allocate.

Mr. Hudson

I am merely showing that the hon. Lady is convicted out of her own mouth. In one breath she says that we cannot use the additional feeding stuffs that we have gained to increase our rations, because that has already been taken into account by the Combined Food Board, and then she says that when we lose as a result of a bad harvest, we have to suffer. We are not allowed to make representations to the Food Board that we must be allowed to cancel out one against the other. I have never heard such an argument. It is very much like her suggestion that we on this side of the House are not concerned with the sufferings and hardships that will have to be undergone by the individual people. Of course, we are. I do not know about hon. Members opposite— [Interruption.] Hon. Gentlemen need not jeer. We have received scores of letters of protest from individuals.

The hon. Lady made no attempt to answer the very cogent arguments that were advanced by my hon. Friend the Member for Chippenham. What is the gravamen of the charge that we level against the Government, and the reason we are asking the House to agree to annul this Order? It may, on the information that the Government had, have been right, in their view, to take this precautionary measure last June, but as my hon. Friend the Member for Chippenham said, the situation has radically changed since June. We have had a very bad harvest, with the inevitable result that there has been a considerable amount available of unmillable wheat that cannot be used for human consumption. I maintain, from the information that has reached me and my hon. Friends, that a great proportion of that unmillable wheat is being wasted. A certain amount of it has been collected by the Government, but a great deal of it is still on the farms in this country, heating and rapidly deteriorating. I am told, although I naturally cannot vouch for the figures—[HON. MEMBERS: "Why? "] Because I have not been right round the country. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why not go?"] I think it would be very much better if the present Minister travelled about the country as much as I did when I was a Minister.

The best information that reaches me is that today there is no less than 200,000 tons of unmillable wheat lying on farms in this country, rapidly deteriorating. If the hon. Lady could induce her Department to get after that, she would quite easily be able to make good the amount of cereals involved in this cut, which is, I believe, something of the order of 60,000 tons. There is, undoubtedly, some 200,000 tons available. That is an unexpected change in the situation. It is a change that no one could have foreseen last June, but the gravamen of our charge is that in spite of this changed situation, the same old programme which was laid down in June, is being adhered to when we believe it should be revised.

The hon. Member for Taunton (Mr. Collins) stated that dollars were not the difficulty, and he led the House to assume that something else was—possibly supply or shipping. So far as maize is concerned, I do not necessarily accept the suggestion that 10 per cent. of the crop in the United States should be bought. It is a well-known fact that maize and wheat were both record crops in the United States last year, when the figure for maize harvested was the highest ever, not only for the United States but for any country in the world. There was every reason to fear that there would not be two bumper harvests running, but I understand that Providence has been kind and the United States has in fact had two bumper crops of maize in succession. There is no question that if the dollars are available—and I take the word of the hon. Member for Taunton that this is so—it should have been possible to have obtained from the United States, by ordinary private commercial channels, if it was not possible to do it by bulk purchase, the few tens of thousands of tons needed to avoid making this particular cut.

The hon. Lady made no attempt to defend the actual details of this Order. She talked about the additional protein that was to be allotted to dairy cattle. Well, naturally, we are only too glad to hear that some small addition is to be made, but why single out poultry keepers as the only people who are not to benefit? We are talking tonight about what is known as "balancer meal," and it is well described by its name. It is intended to provide a balanced ration and those constituents of poultry food which are missing from the ordinary scraps from the table. One of the most important of these constituents is proteins, and one of the most important of those, vegetable and animal, is animal protein. We are enjoying today, as the result of the largely increased landings of fish, substantially greater supplies of animal protein—the most valuable we can have, contained in fish meal and so on. In the case of pigs, the proportion of animal protein has been increased, and quite rightly, from 5 per cent. to 7½ per cent. as from last Monday. I am not complaining about that; it was the right thing to do. But why single out poultry to be left in the cold? I have here an appendant to this Order we are discussing tonight, an instruction issued by the Director of National Feeding Stuffs to the manufacturers of this balancer meal which is the subject of the Order, and he says that it shall contain the following: Animal protein, fish substances, 2½ per cent. Why make the situation, which is bad enough through the reduction of the ration, worse by not trying to improve the quality of the miserable remaining balancer meal given to the poultry keeper? The total amount would have been very small. If you can do it for dairy cows and pigs, it should not have been beyond the wit of man, with a little good administration, to do it for poultry. That is the second reason why we object to this Order.

The third reason is that human beings being what they are, very large numbers of people will undoubtedly do everything they can to try to save their stock—their hens and their pigs. One of the obvious ways of doing that is to feed to them increased supplies of potatoes. Now potatoes are none too plentiful. We do not yet know finally how we are going to emerge next year, after the winter, with regard to potatoes, because there has been a great deal of blight. If, as a result of this action of cutting the balancer meal for pigs, people change over to potatoes on any scale this autumn and winter, the Ministry of Food may find itself faced with a serious shortage of potatoes next spring, which is the time of maximum difficulty. Therefore, even from the Ministry's own narrow point of view, the point of view of ensuring food supplies for the people of this country, cutting down food for animals at this particular time, when people do not believe it is necessary, is really bad administration.

Finally, I come to the question which has only been touched on very lightly, and that is the denial of rations to small poultry keepers who are rearing pullets. I am told that the ration for adult birds, and for birds for replacement, has been greatly reduced and that the ration for pullets to be sold has been cut entirely under this Order. The result is going to

be not only the slaughter of pullets. It will also mean that in a certain comparatively short space of time, we are going to be definitely short of pullets, that is, pullets mainly sold to the small farmer, pullets which could have used a good deal of the grain which will be otherwise wasted, a good deal of the unmillable grain of various sorts, which is lying on the farms. Again, this is a piece of bad administration. It will result in a serious waste of feeding stuffs, and also of food for human consumption. For all these reasons, I beg the hon. Lady to have another look, even at this late date, at this matter. I believe that if she could get the Minister, and her colleagues and officials, to look at this matter again, to forget for a moment the prestige involved, to forget that they committed themselves last June to a statement that this would happen; if they looked at it again in the light of circumstances as they exist today, they would find it possible to get from the farms, even now, a substantial portion of the 200,000 tons of unmillable wheat which will otherwise be wasted. Then I believe it would be possible, perhaps not to cancel the Order, but to mitigate it very much indeed. It is because I hope that she will do this and bring in a new Order, that I ask the House to annul this Order.

Several hon. Members


THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (MR. WILLIAM WHITELEY) rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."

Question put, "That the Question be now put."

The House divided: Ayes, 207; Noes, 75.

Division No. 289.] AYES. [11.9 p.m
Adams, Richard (Balham) Bowden, Flg.-Offr. H. W. Daines, P.
Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South) Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl, Exch'ge) Davies, Edward (Burslem)
Allen, A. C. (Bosworth) Braddock, T. (Mitcham) Deer, G.
Alpass, J. H. Brook, D. (Halifax) Diamond, J.
Anderson, A. (Motherwell) Brown, T. J. (Ince) Dedds, N. N.
Attewell, H. C. Buchanan, G. Donovan, T.
Austin, H. L. Burden, T. W. Driberg, T. E. N.
Awbery, S. S. Burke, W. A. Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)
Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B. Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.) Dumpleton, C. W.
Bacon, Miss A. Chamberlain, R. A. Durbin, E. F. M.
Baird, J. Champion, A. J. Edelman, M.
Barstow, P. G. Cobb, F. A. Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough, E.)
Battley, J. R. Cocks, F. S. Edwards, John (Blackburn)
Bechervaise, A. E. Coldrick, W. Edwards, N. (Caerphilly)
Bing, G. H. C. Collick, P. Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)
Binns, J. Collins, V. J. Evans, E. (Lowestoft)
Blenkinsop, A. Comyns, Dr. L. Evans, John (Ogmore)
Blyton, W. R. Corlett, Dr. J. Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)
Boardman, H. Daggar, G. Ewart, R.
Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.) McGhee, H. G. Skinnard, F. W.
Forman, J. C. Mack, J. D. Smith, C. (Colchester)
Fraser, T. (Hamilton) McKay, J. (Wallsend) Smith, S. H. (Hull, S.W.)
Freeman, Maj. J. (Watford) Mackay, R. W. G. (Hull, N.W.) Snow, Capt. J. W.
Gaitskell, H. T. N. McLeavy, F. Solley, L. J.
Ganley, Mrs. C. S. Mallalieu, J. P. W. Sorensen, R. W.
Gibbins, J. Mathers, G. Sparks, J. A.
Gilzean, A. Middleton, Mrs. L. Stamford, W.
Glanville, J. E. (Consett) Mitchison, Maj. G. R. Stewart, Capt. Michael (Fulham, E.)
Gooch, E. G. Monslow, W. Stubbs, A. E.
Gordon-Walker, P. C. Morgan, Dr. H. B. Summerskill, Dr. Edith
Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood) Morley, R. Swingler S.
Grenfell, D. R. Morris, P. (Swansea, W.) Symonds, A. L.
Grey, C. F. Murray, J. D. Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)
Grierson, E. Neal, H. (Claycross) Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley) Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N) Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Griffiths, W. D. (Moss Side) Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford) Tiffany, S.
Guy, W. H. Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brentford) Timmons, J.
Hale, Leslie Noel-Buxton, Lady. Titterington, M. F.
Hardy, E. A. Oldfield, W. H. Tolley, L.
Hastings, Dr. Somerville Oliver, G H. Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G.
Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick) Orbach, M. Turner-Samuels, M.
Herbison, Miss M. Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth) Ungoed-Thomas, L.
Holman, P. Palmer, A. M. F. Viant, S. P.
Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth) Pargiter, G. A. Walkden, E.
House, G. Parker, J. Walker, G. H.
Hoy, J. Paton, Mrs. F. (Rushcliffe) Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)
Hubbard, T. Paton, J. (Norwich) Warbey, W. N.
Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.) Peart, Capt. T. F. Watkins, T. E.
Hutchinson, H. L. (Rusholme) Perrins, W. Weitzman, D
Irving, W. J Platts-Mills. J. F. F. Wells, W. T. (Walsall)
Janner, B. Porter, E. (Warrington) West, D. G.
Jeger, G. (Winchester) Pursey, Cmdr. H. White, C. F. (Derbyshire, W.)
Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.E.) Randall, H. E. White, H. (Derbyshire, N.E.)
John, W. Ranger, J. Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools) Rankin, J. Wigg, Col. G. E.
Jones, Elwyn (Plaistow) Reid, T. (Swindon) Wilkes, L
Jones, J. H. (Bolton) Rhodes, H. Wilkins, W. A.
Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin) Robens, A. Willey, F T. (Sunderland)
Keenan, W. Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire) Williams, D. J. (Neath)
King, E. M. Rogers, G. H. R. Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)
Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E. Sargood, R. Williams, W. R. (Heston)
Kinley, J. Scollan, T. Williamson, T.
Kirkwood, D. Scott-Elliot, W. Willis, E.
Lang, G. Segal, Dr. S. Wills, Mrs. E. A.
Lavers, S. Shackleton, Wing-Cdr. E. A. A Woods, G. S.
Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton) Sharp, Lt.-Col. G. M. Wyatt, W.
Lewis, J. (Bolton) Shurmer, P. Yates, V. F.
Lewis, T. (Southampton) Silverman, J. (Erdington)
Lyne, A. W. Skeffington, A. M. TELLERS FOR THE AYES
McAdam, W. Skeffington-Lodge, T. C. Mr. Pearson and Mr. Simmons.
Assheton, Rt. Hon. R Hollis, M. C Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)
Baldwin, A. E. Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport) Sanderson, Sir F.
Bennett, Sir P. Hurd, A Scott, Lord W.
Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. (Wells) Hutchison, Lt.-Cm. Clark (E'b'rgh, W.) Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir W.
Bowen, R. Joynson-Hicks, Lt.-Cdr. Hon. L. W. Snadden, W. M.
Bower, N. Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H Spearman, A. C. M.
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A. Lennox-Boyd, A. T. Spence, H. R.
Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. G. Low, Brig. A. R. W. Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray)
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. McCallum, Maj. D. Sutcliffe, H.
Byers, Frank McKie, J. H. (Galloway) Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Clarke, Col. R. S. Maclean, Brig. F. H. R. (Lancaster) Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)
Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G. Macpherson, Maj. N. (Dumfries) Thorp, Lt.-Col. R. A. F.
Conant, Maj. R. J. E. Manningham-Buller, R. E. Touche, G. C.
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C. Marlowe, A. A. H. Turton, R. H.
Dodds-Parker A. D. Marshall, D. (Bodmin) Wadsworth, G.
Dower, Lt.-Col. A. V. G. (Penrith) Mellor, Sir J. Wakefield, Sir W. W.
Drayson, G. B. Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury) Wheatley, Colonel M. J.
Dugdale, Maj. Sir T (Richmond) Neven-Spence, Sir B. White, Sir D. (Fareham)
Eccles, D. M. Nicholson, G. White, J. B. (Canterbury)
Fox, Sqn.-Ldr. Sir G. Noble, Comdr. A H. P Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale) Osborne, C. Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Gage, C. Pitman, I. J. York, C.
Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. Ponsonby, Col C. E. Young, Sir A. S. L. (Partick)
Grimston, R. V. Prescott, Stanley
Haughton, S. G. Ramsay, Maj. S. TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir C Rayner. Brig. R. Mr. Drewe and Commander Agnew

Question put accordingly,

"That the Order, dated 5th September, 1946, amending the Feeding Stuffs (Rationing) Order, 1943, and giving Directions thereunder (S.R. & O., 1946, No. 1490), a copy of which

amending Order was presented on 8th October, be annulled."

The House divided: Ayes, 74; Noes, 208.

Division No. 290.] AYES [11 18 p.m
Agnew, Cmdr. P. G. Hollis, M. C. Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)
Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. Hudson, Rt. Hon. R S. (Southport) Sanderson, Sir F
Bennett, Sir P. Hurd, A Scott, Lord W.
Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. (Wells) Hutchison, Lt.-Cm. Clark (E'b'rgh, W.) Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir W
Bowen, R. Joynson-Hicks, Lt.-Cdr. Hon. L. W. Snadden, W. M.
Bower, N. Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H Spearman, A. C. M
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A. Lennox-Boyd, A. T. Spence, H. R.
Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. G. Low, Brig. A. R. W. Stuart, Rt. Hon. J (Moray)
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. McCallum, Maj. D. Sutcliffe, H.
Byers, Frank McKie, J. H. (Galloway) Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Clarke, Col. R. S. Maclean, Brig. F. H. R. (Lancaster) Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)
Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G. Macpherson, Maj. N. (Dumfries) Thorp, Lt.-Col. R. A. F.
Conant, Maj. R. J. E. Manningham-Buller, R. E Touche, G. C.
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C. Marlowe, A. A. H. Wadsworth, G.
Dodds-Parker, A. D. Marshall, D. (Bodmin) Wakefield, Sir W. W.
Dower, Lt.-Col. A. V. G. (Penrith) Mellor, Sir J. Wheatley, Colonel M. J.
Drayson, G. B. Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury) White, Sir D. (Fareham)
Drewe, C. Neven-Spence, Sir B. White, J. B (Canterbury)
Dugdale, Maj. Sir T. (Richmond) Nicholson, G. Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Fox, Sqn.-Ldr. Sir G. Noble, Comdr. A. H. P. Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale) Osborne, C. York, C.
Gage, C. Pitman, I. J. Young, Sir A. S. L. (Partick)
Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. Ponsonby, Col. C. E.
Grimston, R. V. Prescott, Stanley TELLERS FOR THE AYES
Haughton, S. G. Ramsay, Maj. S. Mr. Eccles and Mr. Turton.
Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir C Rayner, Brig. R.
Adams, Richard (Balham) Driberg, T. E. N. Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.E.)
Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South) Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich) John, W
Allen, A. C. (Bosworth) Dumpleton, C. W. Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools)
Alpass, J. H. Durbin, E. F. M. Jones, Elwyn (Plaistow)
Anderson, A. (Motherwell) Edelman, M. Jones, J. H. (Bolton)
Attewell, H. C. Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough, E.) Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)
Austin, H. L. Edwards, John (Blackburn) Keenan, W.
Awbery, S. S. Edwards, N. (Caerphilly) King, E. M.
Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B. Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel) Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E
Bacon, Miss A. Evans, E. (Lowestoft) Kinley, J.
Baird, J. Evans, John (Ogmore) Kirkwood, D.
Balfour, A. Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury) Lang, G.
Barstow, P. G. Ewart, R. Lavers, S.
Battley, J. R Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.) Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)
Bechervaise, A. E Forman, J. C. Lewis, J. (Bolton)
Bing, G. H. C. Fraser, T. (Hamilton) Lewis, T. (Southampton)
Binns, J. Freeman, Maj. J. (Watford) Lyne, A. W.
Blenkinsop, A Gaitskell, H. T. N. McAdam, W.
Blyton, W. R. Ganley, Mrs. C. S. McGhee, H. G.
Boardman, H. Gibbing, J. Mack, J. D.
Bowden, Flg.-Offr. H. W Gilzean, A. McKay, J. (Wallsend)
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl, Exch'ge) Glanville, J. E. (Consett) Mackay, R. W. G. (Hull, N.W.)
Braddock, T. (Mitcham) Gooch, E. G McLeavy, F.
Brook, D. (Halifax) Gordon-Walker, P. C. Mallalieu, J. P. W.
Brown, T. J. (Ince) Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood) Mathers, G.
Buchanan, G. Grenfell, D. R. Millington, Wing-Comdr. E. R
Burden, T. W. Grey, C. F. Mitchison, Maj. G. R.
Burke, W. A. Grierson, E. Monslow, W.
Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.) Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley) Morgan, Dr. H. B.
Chamberlain, R. A. Griffiths, W. D. (Moss Side) Morley, R.
Champion, A. J. Guy, W. H. Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)
Cobb, F. A. Hale, Leslie Murray, J. D
Cocks, F. S. Hardy, E. A. Neal, H. (Claycross)
Coldrick, W. Hastings, Dr. Somerville Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)
Collick, P. Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick) Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)
Collins, V. J. Herbison, Miss M. Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brentford)
Comyns, Dr. L. Holman, P. Noel-Buxton, Lady.
Corlett, Dr. J. Holmes,H. E. (Hemsworth) Oldfield, W. H.
Dagger, G. House, G. Oliver, G. H.
Daines, P. Hoy, J. Orbach, M.
Davies, Edward (Burslem) Hubbard, T Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth)
Deer, G. Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.) Palmer, A. M. F.
Delargy, Captain H. J. Hutchinson, H. L. (Rusholme) Pargiter, G. A.
Diamond, J. Irving, W. J. Parker, J.
Dodds, N. N. Janner, B. Paton, Mrs. F. (Rushcliffe)
Donovan, T. Jeger, G. (Winchester) Paton, J. (Norwich)
Peart, Capt. T. F. Smith, C. (Colchester) Walker, G. H.
Perrins, W. Smith, S. H. (Hull, S.W.) Wallace, H. W. (Walthamzstew, E.)
Platte-Mills. J. F. F. Snow, Capt. J. W. Warbey, W. N.
Porter, E. (Warrington) Solley, L. J. Watkins, T. E.
Pursey, Cmdr. H. Sorensen, R. W. Weitzman, D.
Randall, H. E Sparks, J. A. Wells, W. T. (Walsall)
Ranger, J. Stamford, W. West, D. G.
Rankin, J. Stewart, Capt. Michael (Fulham, E.) White, C. F. (Derbyshire, W.)
Reid, T. (Swindon) Stubbs, A. E. White, H. (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Rhodes, H. Summerskill, Dr. Edith Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Robens, A. Swingler S. Wigg, Col. G. E.
Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire) Symonds, A. L. Wilkes, L.
Rogers, G. H. R. Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield) Wilkins, W. A.
Sargood, R. Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth) Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Scollan, T. Thomas, George (Cardiff) Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)
Scott-Elliot, W. Tiffany, S. Williams, W. R. (Heston)
Segal, Dr. S. Timmons, J. Williamson, T.
Shackleton, Wing-Cdr. E. A. A Titterington, M. F. Willis, E.
Sharp, Lt.-Col. G. M. Tolley, L. Wills, Mrs. E. A.
Shurmer, P. Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G Woods, G. S.
Silverman, J. (Erdington) Turner-Samuels, M. Wyatt, W.
Skeffington, A. M. Ungoed-Thomas, L. Yates, V. F.
Skeffington-Lodge, T. C. Viant, S. P.
Skinnard, F. W. Walkden, E. TELLERS FOR THE NOES Mr. Pearson and Mr. Simmons.

Resolved: "That this House do now adjourn" [Mr. R. J. Taylor].

Adjourned accordingly at Twenty-six Minutes past Eleven o'Clock.