HC Deb 25 October 1920 vol 133 c1377W

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade what is the present position with regard to the control of forage, and, in particular, hay, straw, and oats; what is the justification for the continued high prices which are being demanded, seeing that the military forces' requirements have been reduced to a pre-War footing, and the increase of motor vehicles has caused a reduction in the demands for feeding stuffs; whether the farmer, merchant, or the intermediate salesmen are responsible for the maintenance of the excessive prices now prevailing, though nearly two years have elapsed since the Armistice; and what steps he proposes to take to restore a more reasonable price?


With the exception of the prices of hay and straw of the 1918 crop, which are governed by an Army Council Order, neither the prices nor the distribution of hay, straw, and oats are controlled. The Profiteering Acts have been applied to hay, straw, and oats, and it is therefore open to any member of the public who is aggrieved at the price he is called upon to pay for any of these commodities, except hay and straw of the 1918 crop, to complain to the appropriate local committee established under the Profiteering Acts, or, in the case of wholesale transactions, to the Central Committee, when the matter will be investigated. I understand that the wet season has had the effect that the crop of first-class undamaged hay is relatively short, which naturally sustains the price for the best qualities.