HC Deb 12 March 1947 vol 434 cc188-9W
61. Mrs. Middleton

asked the Minister of Food how many boat loads of potatoes came into Plymouth during the weeks ended 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd February and 1st March; what was the tonnage of potatoes carried by each vessel; and how each boat load was divided, respectively, between the claims of N.A.A.F.I. and of the civilian population.

Dr. Summerskill

During the five weeks mentioned seven ships came into Plymouth carrying a total of 3,709 tons of potatoes. The quantities carried by these ships were 516, 362, 566, 688, 338, 553 and 686 tons. During this period the allocation to N.A.A.F.I. through their supplying wholesalers was 445 tons; the Admiralty also received 477 tons; and the balance of 2,787 tons was available for the civilian population. I regret that it is impossible to say, without a great deal of investigation, how each shipment was apportioned.

62. Mrs. Middleton

asked the Minister of Food whether he is aware that bags of potatoes received from his Department at Bristol have arrived in Plymouth with the bags burst and some of the contents spilled, causing short weight, which shortages the inspector of his Department in Plymouth refuses to make good to the merchants concerned; and what action he will take to remedy this.

Dr. Summerskill

It is impossible to avoid a certain number of burst bags in shipments, owing to the extra handling through the ports. The officers of my Department have authority to credit merchants in cases of short weight, but complaints must be made before the potatoes are resold so that the appropriate allowance can be worked out.

Mr. Hale

asked the Minister of Food whether he is aware of the shortage of potatoes in the borough of Oldham; and what steps he proposes to take to deal with the situation.

Dr. Summerskill

The severe weather has seriously reduced supplies of potatoes, and I am sorry to say that Oldham, in common with other parts of the country, has experienced a shortage. In order to increase the supplies immediately available my Department has removed the restrictions on sales of certain varieties by growers, and this will facilitate restocking of the markets as soon as weather conditions permit.