§ Commander BELLAIRS
asked the Parlimentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he is aware that in spite of the prohibition of the import of hops no less than 6,058 cwts. were imported in January, of which 1,081 cwts. came from the United States; whether he is aware that the bulk of the remainder came from Australia; and whether the Food Controller will absolutely stop these importations of hops, which increased in the first week in February?
§ Mr. R. McNEILL
asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) if he is aware that over 40,000 cwts. of foreign hops have been imported since the announcement by the Government that all imports of hops had been prohibited; whether he is aware that the conditions on which alone it was announced that licences would be given for imports notwithstanding the prohibition have never arisen; if he will say whether, notwithstanding this circumstance, licences for import have been granted; if so, for what quantities and for what reason; and if he will say when it is proposed to begin fulfilment of the pledge given by the Government in this matter in June, 1916; (2) whether any licences have been granted for the import of foreign hops which have not yet been unloaded in this country; if so, will he say for what quantities such licences have been granted and from what port or ports the hops will be shipped; and whether it is the intention of the Government to grant any further licences for the import of hops; (3) whether he is aware that 2,107 cwts. of foreign hops were imported in the week ending 10th February; if he will say where these hops were grown; by what ship or ships were they brought to this country; were they brought under licence; and, if so, for what reason was such licence granted and to whom was it granted; and if he will say who were the consignors and consignees, respectively; (4) whether he is aware that the stocks of home-grown hops in the country are sufficient to supply all needs for two years even if no restriction of brewing had been enforced, and that 1485W under existing circumstances these stocks will last a much longer time; whether he is aware that the brewing trade has expressed no desire for modification of the Order prohibiting the import of foreign hops or for licences to be granted for such imports; and if he will say why licences for the import of foreign hops have been granted in these circumstances, in view of the pledge given that licences would only be granted in case of a shortage of supplies or of excessive prices for home-grown hops; and (5) if he is aware that business in the hop trade has been conducted for the last seven months on the understanding that the pledge of the Government would be fulfilled that no import of foreign hops would be permitted, and that contracts have been made and hops purchased on the same understanding; whether he is aware that, in consequence of the non-fulfilment of the Government's pledge, persons engaged in the trade have suffered loss; and whether, in view of the injury to the trade caused by the present uncertainty as to the intentions of the Government, he will say what action he proposes to take in the matter?
The Board of Trade have not deviated in a single case from their general policy, which has several times been explained in this House. With the exception of small quantities of hops grown within the British Empire or in that part of Belgium which is not in enemy occupation, the only consignments of hops which have been admitted have been those which werebonâ fide en route to British consignees or actually paid for before the dates on which the prohibition was announced to the public. I may add that it has now been decided to grant no more licences for the import of hops grown within the Empire or in that part of Belgium which is not in enemy occupation.