HC Deb 05 February 1918 vol 101 cc2114-5W

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he is aware that tile dealers and sellers of Irish cattle at Birkenhead complain of high charges; and whether he will cause inquiry to be made on this point and other matters suggested by those concerned?


The Food Controller is causing full inquiries to be made into the complaints referred to in the question. He has invited a deputation of Irish dealers to come to London to discuss the matter, and has arranged to send representatives of the Ministry to Dublin to confer with the dealers and sellers of Irish cattle at an early date.


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether, before issuing Regulations under the Cattle Sales Order, 1917, constituting the Birkenhead Irish Cattle and Meat Supply Association, the sole authority for the sale and distribution of cattle at Birkenhead, Woodside, and Wallasey lairages, he consulted the Law Officers of the Crown as to the legality of such Regulations; whether he is aware that such a Regulation is a restraint upon trade and is against public policy; and will he reconsider the Regulation with the view of restoring the freedom of sale and purchase of cattle at Birkenhead as such exists at all other centres of distribution?


The Law Officers were not consulted in regard to the Regulations referred to as no specific point of law arose in connection therewith upon which it was necessary to take their opinion: As to such Regulations being in restraint of trade, I may point out to the hon. Member that practically all the Orders made by the Food Controller under the Defence of the Realms Act, in the exercise of duties imposed upon him by Act of Parliament, are, and must necessarily be, in restraint of trade. The Regulations for the purchase and sale of cattle at Birkenhead provide for the control of cattle sales on the same basis of valuation as that in operation at all other centres of distribution in Great Britain.

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