HC Deb 15 November 1939 vol 353 cc736-8W
Mr. Barr

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether he is aware that the Coatbridge Co-operative Society, Limited, which has a membership of 13,194, under the several percentage reductions of the June and July quantity of butter, find their allotted supplies quite inadequate to meet the needs of their members even on the most restricted rationing, while the multiple shops in Coatbridge have surplus butter for disposal; that this anomaly is causing discontent and serious injury to the society; whether he can state the cause of this disproportion; and whether he is taking steps to secure a more equitable allocation?

Mr. W. S. Morrison

I have made inquiries and I find that the allocation of butter by the Scottish Co-operative Wholesale Society to the Coatbridge Cooperative Society, Limited, is strictly in accordance with the rate of distribution at present operating between suppliers and their retail customers.

I am informed that the multiple shops in this town have not now ample supplies of butter. In so far as certain traders may until recently have had larger stocks of butter than others, it was due to the fact that such traders were carrying larger stocks when butter in cold storage was requisitioned by the Ministry. It would obviously have been impracticable to have requisitioned butter at the very large number of individual traders' premises, and it was, therefore, necessary to confine requisition to stocks at cold stores. Surplus stocks are virtually exhausted, and it is believed that retailers of all types are, generally speaking, now on an equal footing as regards supplies.

I would add that all possible steps are being taken to ensure as equitable a distribution of butter as possible within the limits of the reduced allocation, but it should be appreciated that the control which can be exercised by the Ministry beyond the first-hand suppliers is strictly limited.