HC Deb 17 October 1916 vol 86 cc428-9W

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether the exports of lard and bacon to Belgium from the United States show the following differences: 1914–15, lard, 5,128,630 lbs.; bacon, 5,737,161 lbs.; 1915–16, lard, 70,132,156 lbs.; bacon, 60,160,749 lbs.; whether His Majesty's Government are fully convinced that none of this increased supply finds its way, directly or indirectly, into German hands; whether Belgium will be rationed down to its usual and normal requirements; and if he can state what the latest figures are up to date in 1916 for these two commodities?


As may be seen from the Reports of the Commission in the Library of the House, their importations into Rotterdam for Belgium and Northern France were as follows, in metric tons: 1st November, 1914, to 31st October, 1915, 15,355 tons bacon, 8,828 tons lard; 31st October, 1915, to 25th March, 1916, 17,626 tons bacon, 15,484 tons lard. The later figures are as follows: 26th March, 1916, to 25th June, 1916, 1,932 tons bacon, 8,454 tons lard; 26th June, 1916, to 25th September, 1916, 9,119 tons bacon, 17,792 tons lard. Part of the shipment for the last quarter is to be regarded as a surplus for storage at Rotterdam. I have lumped the figures for Belgium and Northern France together since, although the figures given by the hon. Member do not quite tally with the above—possibly owing to differences in the calculation of gross and net weights—they appear clearly to be meant to include the total shipments of the Commission. The answer to the second and third parts of the question are in the affirmative, except that the ration afforded by the Commission to the French populations and to the Belgian populations, in so far as the latter are dependent on imported foodstuffs, cannot possibly be brought up to the level of usual and normal requirements.