asked the Minister of Food whether he is aware that the Irish Pig (Control) Order, 1918, restricts the importation of pigs into England to those who imported in 1916 and on the basis of trade done in that year; whether he is aware that this Order adversely affects all those in the retail pork trade who were serving in the Army at that time, that it only benefits the Irish bacon curer, and that it is enhancing the price of bacon in this country; and whether, in view of these circumstances, he will have this Order revoked?
§ Mr. McCURDY
With regard to the first, second, and fourth parts of the question, I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the answer given on this subject on Friday, February 13th, to the hon. and gallant Member for the Walton division. With regard to the third part, I may add that the Order referred to has benefited equally all classes of traders dealing in Irish pigs, as it has prevented competition which, under existing conditions, would have resulted in excessive prices, and a probable monopoly of the existing supply of pigs by the larger traders. The price of English and Irish bacon is fixed by the Home Produced Bacon, Hams and Lard Prices Order, 1919, and would unquestionably advance if control were removed.
asked the Minister of Food whether, in the interests of children, he will increase the domestic sugar ration and allow less for confectionery and other manufacturing purposes?
§ Mr. McCURDY
The question of an increase in the domestic sugar ration is at present receiving the consideration of the Food Controller in the light of its effect 1067W upon supplies and upon the finances of the country, and the hon. and gallant Member may rest assured that the taking of such a desirable course will not be unnecessarily delayed. With regard to the latter part of the question, it must be remembered that a large portion of the sugar issued for manufacturing purposes is used in the preparation of jam and sweets and is consumed by children in those forms. The sugar issued for manufacturing purposes has already been reduced to one-half the quantity used last year, and any further reduction would result in unemployment and distress, particularly among the owners of small sweetshops, large numbers of whom are soldiers' and sailors' widows, who depend upon these small businesses for their livelihood.