HC Deb 04 November 1918 vol 110 cc1803-4W

asked the Food Controller whether he is aware that there was a shortage of meat in Southend for the week ending Wednesday, 30th October, and that the meat authorities in London failed on application to so expedite the supply as to ensure a sufficient quantity to meet coupons in the borough for the week?


No, Sir; a shortage in the supply of meat to Southend was anticipated on Wednesday, 30th October. Meat was immediately requisitioned from London, and was distributed in Southend on the same day, so that no shortage actually occurred.


asked the Food Controller whether he will state the names of the persons who bought on his behalf the beef, mutton, and bacon in the United States, the amount of such purchases in weight, and the persons from whom and the prices at which the same were bought; over what periods did the contracts extend and what quantities of meat are still undelivered; and whether it is the fact that the buyers considerably overbought and the sellers are calling on the Food Controller to take delivery, and he is finding it difficult to bring the meat over and dispose of it?


The whole of the beef, mutton and bacon purchased in the United States by the Food Controller is purchased by the Allied Provisions Export Commission. The purchases are actually effected through the United States Food Administration, who deals with the packers collectively on behalf of all the Allies. By this means, competition between the Allies is avoided, and a uniform price is paid by all the buyers interested, including the American Army. The frozen meat contracted for up to the 28th September was approximately 198,000 tons, of which 164,000 tons had been shipped at that date, leaving a balance of 34,000 tons still to be shipped. The bacon and hams contracted for up to the 28th September amounted to 522,326 tons, all of which had then been shipped with the exception of 43,350 tons. The contracts are placed with all the packing houses who are in a position to tender supplies to the United States Food Administration, and whose tenders are approved by that Administration. The prices paid for meat vary from month to month according to the condition of the market, but are fixed by the Administration. These prices have ranged up to 26 cents per pound. The prices paid for bacon and hams vary in like manner, and also in the case of the different cuts. They have ranged from 20½ cents per pound to 34½ cents per pound. The answer to the last part of the question is in the negative. The packers are asking to be allowed to postpone delivery, and cannot accept orders which the Food Controller would be glad to place with them.