§ Mr. ATKEY
asked the Food Controller (1).whether he is aware that a consignment of 27cwts. of butter, handed to the railway company, on the 22nd July, by Messrs. F. Hunter and Company, Corn Exchange, Manchester, for delivery to Mr. A. B. Gibson, of Nottingham, for distribution commencing the 28th July, remains undelivered, with the result that 23,312 customers have been deprived of their rations; and will he take the necessary steps to remedy this state of affairs; (2).whether he is aware that very large quantities of food are being destroyed owing to delays in transport, and, in particular, Mr. A. B. Gibson, wholesale merchant, of Nottingham, has recently had to return to Liverpool or refuse delivery of seventy boxes of ham owing to their unsaleable condition, and that this represents 18½ tons of food; that these hams were landed at least a month and exposed to heat and all the effects of protracted delay, and that the matter is now so serious that packers in America are contemplating cutting off all shipments to this country; that if this is done there will shortly be a famine in hams; and will he consider taking steps, in conjunction with the Minister of Labour and the Railway Executive, in order to secure more efficient transport service for essential and perishable foodstuffs?
The consignment of butter referred to was not handed to the railway company until 30th July. It was dispatched on the same day and delivered to Mr. Gibson, in Nottingham, on 1st 379W August. I have caused inquiry to be made as to the consignment of ham, but it has not been possible to obtain information in the time available. When I am in possession of the facts I will communicate with the hon. Member. I am not aware that the American packers have proposed to cut off supplies to this country. I appreciate the urgent importance of accelerating transport, and the question is receiving the daily attention of my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade.