HC Deb 19 February 1919 vol 112 cc953-5W

asked the Food Controller whether, in view of the fact that potato growers are short of labour and were retarded in their work by the wet season, the Government will organise a scheme of distribution which will increase the consumption of potatoes throughout the country and diminish the consumption of bread, and thereby save material loss to the Exchequer?


I have no information to the effect that the present scheme of distribution of potatoes is discouraging their use. There is, of course, at the present time a large surplus of potatoes which it is highly desirable should go immediately into consumption, and every effort is being made to secure outlets for this surplus.


asked the Food Controller whether he is aware that the existing regulations for the distribution and sale of potatoes is causing loss to growers and injury to the purchasing public, and that the system of zones under which each zone can sell potatoes within that zone alone is working considerable hardship, districts such as South Wales being supplied with potatoes from Ireland instead of from neighbouring potato districts, such as Herefordshire, to the detriment of the growers and public in such potato districts; and, if so, whether he proposes to take any action in the matter?


It is an integral part of the scheme of distribution by which growers were, guaranteed certain prices for their sound ware potatoes, that certain districts should be closed to certain markets where previously trade existed, but these restrictions are being relaxed where it can safely be done without prejudicing the general scheme of control. Arrangements have been made that a portion of the supplies for South Wales shall be drawn from Herefordshire.


asked the Food Controller whether he is aware that one of the conditions under which farmers were asked to meet an urgent national situation, by extending their potato acreage under crop in 1918 was that after 1st November of that year the Ministry of Food would bear the risk of damage other than normal wastage; whether he is aware that officials of the Ministry of Food on public platforms throughout the country, in order to encourage producers, defined abnormal wastage as being all wastage other than loss of weight through evaporation; and whether he will now give farmers the assurance that His Majesty's Government will observe these conditions?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative, and to the second part is in the negative. With regard to the third part of the question, the conditions under which the Food Controller will accept claims for abnormal wastage are set out in the first note to the Schedule of the Report of the Joint Commission appointed on the 19th July, 1918, by the President of the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Food Controller for the purpose of fixing prices to be paid to growers of potatoes in England and Wales. The note reads as follows(a) The increments fixed in the above Schedule must be accepted as covering compensation to the grower for wastage and loss in pits and for deferred delivery. Price, weight, and condition are to be determined in accordance with the scales get out above as at the date when delivery is taken. No grower is entitled to claim further compensation for any losses save those which are quite exceptional in character. In such cases it will be the duty of the grower, when reading application for compensation to satisfy the Government that—

  1. (1) the site of the pit has been properly chosen;
  2. 955
  3. (2) the potatoes were in sound condition when pitted; and
  4. (3) due care was exercised in constructing the pits and in examining the condition of their contents from time to time."

Back to
Forward to