HC Deb 07 December 1953 vol 521 cc1604-5
24. Mr. Padley

asked the Minister of Food the cost to his Department since the inception of the meat control scheme in January, 1940, of carrying out improvements in abattoirs, including adaptation and extension of premises, provision of new equipment, provision of electric saws and electrification of winches.

Major Lloyd George

I regret that the cost of most of these items cannot readily be separated from the cost of maintenance. The cost of electric saws and the electrification of winches which has been separately recorded is a little over £150,000.

Mr. Padley

In view of the substantial investment of public funds in abattoirs over the last 13 years, will not the Minister reconsider the decision to hand this valuable property, containing these public investments, back to private owners, or is it the Government's intention once again to hand valuable national assets to private interests at knock-down prices?

Major Lloyd George

One-third of these slaughterhouses belong to local authorities. I am not apologising for the other two-thirds. They are entitled to them, they run them and they built them themselves. Why should they not be allowed to retain them? Hon. Members ought to realise that the slaughterhouses were taken away compulsorily from the owners. The whole future of slaughterhouses is now under investigation by an inter-Departmental committee.