§ Captain R. TERRELL
asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is now in a position to make any statement as to the Government policy in respect to the hay crop for 1919?
§ Mr. BRIDGEMAN
I regret that I am not yet in a position to make an announcement on this matter beyond that made yesterday to the hon. and gallant Member for Faversham (Major Wheler).
§ Mr. PERKINS
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Agriculture whether the Government still controls the stock of hay in this country; if so, for what purpose; and whether he is aware that horse keepers are finding the greatest difficulty in buying sufficient hay for their immediate needs, while the accumulation of a winter stock of hay is impossible at any price?1670W
§ Mr. BRIDGEMAN
I have been asked to reply to this question. The whole of the 1918 hay crop was taken possession of by the Government under Orders made by the Army Council in the summer of last year. Farmers were allowed to retain part of their crop for their own purposes, and the remainder was purchased by the Government in order to supply the requirements (1) of the Army and (2) of civilian horses, principally in the towns. The balance of the hay, which has not yet been consumed, still remains at the disposal of the Government for these purposes. I am aware of the scarcity of hay at the present time, and of the fact that the balance of the1918 crop still available for civilian consumption is unequally distributed between different parts of the country. In these circumstances, the control of this hay retained by the Government serves the purpose of facilitating an equitable distribution of the very scanty supplies.