§ Colonel HALL WALKER
asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office what tonnage of hay of the 1918 crop in Great Britain was taken for military use, and what was the amount paid for it to the producers; what was the tonnage of the 1918 crop taken for civil supply, exclusive of that used by producers themselves; what was the total amount paid for it to the producers, and what was the total amount paid for it by the consumers; what was the total cost of classifying the hay for civil supply; what was the total cost of the county farm produce committees, the central and county committees for civil supply, and from what source were moneys obtained to meet this expenditure?
§ Mr. FORSTER
Actual figures cannot at present be given, but approximately 825,400 tons of hay of the 1918 crop were purchased for Army use; this figure includes 165,000 tons of oat straw, which, for Army purposes, is treated as hay. The average prices paid to the producers were approximately £7 15s. per ton for hay and £3 12s. 6d. for oat straw. Of the quantity purchased for the Army, 348,641 tons (including 15,000 tons of oat straw) have been transferred to civil supply, having become surplus to Army requirements consequent on demobilisation. In addition to this, 468,286 tons of hay have been purchased for civil supply; the average price paid to the producer was 229W approximately £7 10s. per ton, the quality in most cases being inferior to that bought for the Army. The prices paid by the consumer vary according to the charges applicable to the transaction under the Army Council Order of 20th August, 1918. The cost of classifying the hay for civil supply has averaged about 2s. per ton. The county farm produce committees give their services without remuneration. I am unable to give the cost of the central council or civil county committees, the cost of which is defrayed from a levy of 3s. 6d. per ton paid by the consumer for the purpose.