§ Lieutenant-Colonel WEIGALL
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Agriculture whether he is aware that, owing to the Government policy of paying expenses of freight insurance, lairage, and feeding on Irish fat stock, the price of Irish stores is now so high that English graziers cannot now obtain at an economic figure their necessary raw material; and what action the Board proposes to take?
§ Captain Sir BEVILLE STANIER
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Agriculture (1) whether the Government now pay the freightage, lairage, and feeding charges on Irish fat stock coming to Great Britain from Ireland; and what is the value of this per head;
(2) whether the Government are going to pay or are paying the insurance of cattle 2243W shipped from Ireland to Great Britain, and, if so, would this be an unfair preference to Irish feeders?
I have been asked to reply to these questions. Since the importation of fat stock from Ireland was controlled by the Ministry of Food, in June, 1918, freight and feeding charges on such stock have been paid by the Department. The question of lairage charges does not arise since the responsibility of the Ministry does not begin until the stock has been accepted by the steamship company. During the earlier period of control insurance premiums were refunded at the British port to the Irish vendor, but this liability is now undertaken by the Ministry of Food, The total value per head of the various charges varies according to the port at which the stock is received, but the average figures are 17s. 3d. per head for cattle and 3s. 11d. per head for sheep. I cannot agree that the payment of these items by the Ministry of Food gives an unfair preference to Irish feeders, since the effect of the arrangement is merely to place the farmers of Great Britain and Ireland on an equal footing as regards the sale of fat stock for slaughter in Great Britain; nor do I consider that the present price of stores in Ireland, which is considerably lower than the price at the corresponding period of 1918, has the effect stated in the question.