HC Deb 25 November 1920 vol 135 cc670-1W

asked the Minister of Food (1) whether he is aware that a Very large quantity of flour is stored in an old obsolete building called the Assembly Hall, Ferndale, Rhondda, and that this building is adjacent to the banks of a river and the sewers of the districts and is thereby infested with rats and cannot by any means be made suitable or secure for storing such a valuable commodity as flour upon which the inhabitants of this district mainly depend for their existence; will he look into the matter;

(2) what steps he is taking, in view of the high feeling created at Ferndale that thousands of pounds of value in flour is being destroyed or wasted, to remove this scandal, by getting the said commodity distributed at the earliest possible moment amongst the tradesmen of the locality who have already applied for same; is he aware that the minds of the workmen are becoming convinced that it is a part of the policy of his Department to hoard up valuable stocks of food in unsuitable buildings, even to the risk of waste, in order to keep up prices; and will he now cease this policy?


A certain quantity of flour, forming part of the local stocks held by the Ministry to meet emergencies, was stored for some time in the building referred to. All such stocks are regularly examined, and just before the recent coal strike a report was received from an Inspector of the Royal Commission on Wheat Supplies regarding the condition of this flour, but under the circumstances it was impossible at the moment to take any action. A fortnight ago, however, the whole of the flour was, on the instruction of the Wheat Commission, removed from this building, of which it is not intended to make any further use for this purpose. In reply to the last part of the second question, it is not the policy of my Department to hoard stocks of any foodstuffs with a view to keeping up prices, and I am not aware that any such belief is entertained by any sensible people.

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