HC Deb 22 March 1950 vol 472 cc1959-60
50. Captain John Crowder

asked the Minister of Food how many Australian and New Zealand rabbits there are in stock in this country; what further quantity is to be imported under existing contracts; and whether he is satisfied that all these rabbits will be sold without any financial loss to his Department.

Mr. Webb

Since the middle of September, 1949, retailers have been offered all the rabbits they want, but because other foods have been more plentiful, demand has fallen off this spring and stocks have accumulated. I am not prepared to give figures of stocks or of expected arrivals. As prices have been reduced to encourage sales, I expect there will be some financial loss, how much, I cannot say until stocks are cleared.

Captain Crowder

Is the Minister aware that he has already had 600,000 cases of these rabbits, that there are 200,000 more to come under contract, and that the result of reducing the price by 40 per cent. will involve his Department in a loss which is likely to be in the neighbourhood of £1 million? Will he try to get rid of these rabbits and thus release storage accommodation?

Mr. Webb

I want to get rid of them. If there is any way of doing that, I am all in favour of it.

Mr. Thornton-Kemsley

Does not the Minister agree that all these stocks could have been sold without loss to the country had the advice of the trade been taken and they had been unloaded at the time when the meat ration was down to 10d. and bacon was in short supply?

Mr. Webb

I cannot agree with that.

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