HC Deb 19 November 1919 vol 121 cc928-9W

asked the Minister of Food whether he is aware that, owing to the lack of transport facilities with the mainland, the population of the islands of Harris, Uist, and Barra, have been frequently short of food supplies during the War, and especially since the return of the Service men after the Armistice; and whether, in order that the food supply for man and beast during the winter may not be endangered, he will consult with the Postmaster-General so as to have the steamer service with the mainland improved?


During the War, the islands of Harris, Uist and Barra, received on an average one call a week from the mail steamer. Uist and Barra now receive three calls a week, and, since the inauguration of the new service, no complaints have been received. The mail steamer has, however, been forced to abandon its weekly call at Stockinish, but there is no evidence that this has caused any serious shortage of foodstuffs, which can be brought to Stockinish by road from Tarbert. Complaints have, however, been received from the inhabitants of Harris, and the Ministry are at present in consultation with the Postmaster-General with a view to an improvement in the present arrangements being made.


asked the Minister of Food whether he is aware that, owing to the stoppage since the beginning of the War of steamer communication between Stornoway and Liverpool and Stornoway and Aberdeen a large proportion of the food for the island has been carried by the mail-boat from the rail head at Kyle; that frequently, owing to lack of transport, there was a serious shortage of essential articles of food; that owing to the return of thousands of men from war service the difficulties of obtaining supplies has been greatly increased; and whether he will use his influence to have the daily steamer service from Kyle to Stornoway restored so that the food supply of a population of 30,000 may not be imperilled?


The effect of transport difficulties on the distribution of food in the Highlands is constantly engaging the serious attention of the Ministry. I have not, so far, received information of any danger of food shortage in Stornoway, but I am having inquiries made.

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