HC Deb 11 November 1920 vol 134 cc1398-9W
Captain W. BENN

asked the Minister of Food the quantity of Danish and Swedish bacon imported in the four months ending 30th September, 1920; what proportion was allocated to Scotland; and on what basis such allocation was made?


The quantity of Danish and Swedish bacon imported in the four months ending 30th September, 1920, was 17,678 tons, of which Scotland received approximately 340 tons. The proportion of these supplies now going to Scotland is double that taken by Scotland in normal times, the basis of allocation being traders' registered requirements.

Captain BENN

asked the Minister of Food the number of hams imported in the nine months ending 30th September, 1920, and the proportion allocated to Scotland; and how far such proportion fell short of the requirements of Scotland?


As any trader in Great Britain is free to buy imported hams wherever they may arrive, it is not possible for the Ministry to state what proportion of imported hams has gone to Scotland in the ordinary way of trade. But over and above any such quantity to meet what is recognised as the exceptional demand for this particular cut in Scotland, a special allocation amounting to 17 per cent, of all the hams imported during the nine months 1st January to 30th September, 1920, was made to that country, although in normal times Scotland consumes only 8 per cent, of im- ported North American bacon and hams. There are no records which would show how far the purchases of hams by Scottish traders have fallen short of the requirements of that country, but it is a fact that both in England and Scotland hams have been in short supply throughout this summer, because the Ministry decided that the extremely high prices ruling in America for hams as compared with bacon, and the adverse exchange, made it undesirable to purchase all the hams that might normally be consumed. I may add that the proportion of direct shipments to Scottish ports has for some months past been comparatively low, because refrigerated space in ships serving these ports has not been available, and in these circumstances it was considered more in the public interest to bring hams in good condition into Liverpool whence they could be railed, rather than to risk bringing them in bad condition into Scottish ports. The proportion of direct shipments will increase from now onwards, since the risk of shipments in ordinary space is reduced by colder weather, and I can assure the hon. and gallant Member that ample supplies of hams will be available in Scotland in time for the Christmas trade.