HC Deb 22 November 1939 vol 353 cc1245-6W
Mr. De la Bére

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what steps he is taking to ensure that corn merchants and dealers are not taking advantage and affecting controlled prices for two tons of feeding-stuffs or more by intimating to their customers that the larger quantities are not available and thus compelling their customers to accept 10 cwts. or 15 cwts. consignments, since on these smaller consignments they are able to add a substantial percentage increase; and whether he will introduce legislation to enable small stock-raising farmers and others who are compelled to purchase feeding-stuffs on these terms to add a corresponding amount to the prices when selling their livestock?

Mr. W. S. Morrison

Under the provisions of Article 4 (b)of the Feeding Stuffs (Maximum Prices) Order, merchants are precluded from making extra charges for small lots where delivery in small lots is due to the failure of the seller to deliver in one consignment the whole quantity ordered by the buyer. I am further informed that in very many cases where owing to shortage the merchants have not accepted orders for quantities of two tons and upwards, they have not added the small lot margins permitted them by the Order where the amount delivered has been less than two tons. The reply to the last part of my hon. Friend's question is in the negative.

Mr. W. Roberts

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what rise in price has taken place in the prices of animal feeding-stuffs actually charged to farmers; and whether he is satisfied that the margins allowed to provender merchants are not in excess of their reasonable costs?

Mr. W. S. Morrison

The Feeding Stuffs (Maximum Prices) Order made on 29th September fixed the prices of a wide range of animal feeding-stuffs at the pre-war level. The margins permitted under the Order are now under investigation.

Colonel Burton

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether he can now state the reason for the shortage of animal feeding-stuffs in Suffolk; and can he give an assurance that this will be permanently remedied at an early date, or is it the policy of the Government that animals shall be killed off?

Mr. J. Griffiths

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether he is aware that there exists a serious shortage of maize and barley meal in West Wales; and whether he will take steps to secure that supplies are provided for the area?

Mr. W. S. Morrison

The shortage of feeding-stuffs—especially barley and maize—which is being experienced in most areas of the country at the present time is due to reductions in imports consequent upon the readjustment of shipping programmes to suit war-time conditions, and the heavy demand for cargo space for munitions and other essential war materials. It must be anticipated that these factors will continue to operate in some degree. It is, therefore, of the utmost importance that the greatest economy should be effected in the use of feeding-stuffs and in particular that producers of pigs and poultry should plan their production on the basis that supplies of imported feeding-stuffs will be substantially below normal. Imports of maize and barley are being directed, so far as possible, to those parts of the country where shortages are most acute.