HC Deb 25 February 1920 vol 125 cc1732-3W

asked the Minister of Food whether dissatisfaction exists as to the alleged unfair distribution of imported meat, especially as between town and country districts; whether he can say upon what principle, or in accordance with what plan, such distribution takes place; and whether butchers are obliged to accept and to sell such quantities as are assigned to them?


The hon. Baronet appears to have been misinformed. The distribution of meat is at present carried on on the following lines. The percentage of the retailers' supplies which may be taken in the form of home killed meat is determined from time to time by the Food Controller according to the supplies available, and this percentage is adhered to, as far as possible, throughout the country. Retailers may then take in addition the amounts of imported meat necessary to meet the demands of their customers. They are not obliged to accept supplies of imported meat in excess of their requirements, nor is any limit placed on the quantity of imported meat which they may buy.


asked the Minister of Food if the stores in Australia and New Zealand are full of meat, and that there are 100,000 tons of meat in cold storage in the United Kingdom; if he is also aware that at the Port of London there are 1,650,000 carcases, and for the United Kingdom 6,250,000 carcases; and, if so, if he will take steps to secure a greater distribution to the people?


I have been asked to reply to this question. The latest official information shows that there are about 28,000 tons of frozen meat in Australia and about 137,000 tons in New Zealand awaiting shipment. The capacity of the cold stores in Australia appears to be about 60,000 tons, and that of the stores in New Zealand about 200,000 tons. On 7th February the total stocks of meat at ports and in cold stores in the United Kingdom was 125,862 tons, of which 58,034 tons were in London. As my hon. Friend will have seen, I have arranged for a substantial reduction in the price of imported mutton, which, I hope, will result in an increased consumption.