§ Sir JOHN LONSDALE
asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office if he is aware that the new system of making direct purchases of fodder supplies, besides involving the creation of a separate Department employing several hundreds of officers and civilians, many of whom are young men, has had the effect of substantially raising the cost of hay throughout the country and, by prohibiting commercial dealing in hay, of depriving many well-established and responsible firms of their means of livelihood; and whether, in the interests of national, economy and efficiency, the whole question will be reconsidered, with a view to a return to the previous practice of purchasing supplies by tender?
§ Mr. FORSTER
I am unable to agree with my hon. Friend that the system of direct purchase from the farmers has had the effect of substantially raising the cost of hay throughout the country. Commercial dealing in hay is not prohibited, but in order that certain classes of hay necessary for use Overseas should be secured, the system provides that no dealer should buy from a producer until the hay has been inspected by the Government purchasing 1497W officer and released. I am afraid I can hold out no hope of reverting to the prewar system of purchase.