HC Deb 22 March 1948 vol 448 cc2573-5
50. Mr. Driberg

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he is now able to make a statement on the possibility of increasing the feedingstuffs ration and of varying its basis.

52. Mr. De la Bère

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he can now state the Government's policy in connection with the cattle and poultry feedingstuffs now available for distribution, with particular reference as to whether pigs or poultry are to receive priority.

The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Thomas Williams)

I regret I cannot yet add to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend and to the hon. and gallant Member for Barkston Ash (Colonel Ropner) on 1st March.

Mr. Driberg

Can my right hon. Friend indicate how soon he is likely to be able to make a statement which is very eagerly awaited by many thousands of people?

Mr. Williams

I am hopeful that I shall be able to make a statement very shortly, but it may not be too optimistic.

Mr. De la Bère

Cannot the Minister really come to a decision one way or the other now? We have been waiting week after week. Is he not aware that it will be too late for those who go in for pigs and poultry if a decision is put off much longer? It is not good enough to go on hoping from day to day Mr. Williams: Yes, Sir, the Minister came to a decision quite recently, which was, not to give an answer he cannot fulfil.

Mr. De la Bère

May we have an answer whether pigs or poultry come first?

Mr. Philips Price

In view of the fact that certain imports are coming in from Russia, will it be possible to increase the ration?

Mr. Williams

It may or may not.

Mr. David Renton

Ever since last midsummer the Minister has been expressing hopes of finding a better method of allocation, and has admitted the defects of the present system. Will he say how long we are going to live merely in hope?

Mr. Williams

I can only repeat to the hon. Member what I have previously stated. When supplies are increased, there will be a possible broadening of the basis of the rationing scheme, but I have always maintained that extra supplies must be available before we can do that.

Mr. De la Bère

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I wish to give notice that I will raise the matter on the Adjournment. It is a thoroughly unsatisfactory answer.

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