HC Deb 19 February 1951 vol 484 cc123-5W
13. Mr. Hirst

asked the Minister of Food how much pig meat was obtained from home production in 1950; and what is his Department's policy of distribution.

Mr. Webb

About 246,000 tons for the commercial market and about 38,000 tons under the self-suppliers scheme. Generally, we use as much suitable pig meat as possible for bacon production, but fortunately at present our total supplies of bacon, both home-produced and imported, enable me to direct some pig meat to the fresh meat market.

36. Miss Hornsby-Smith

asked the Minister of Food if he will give an estimate, at current rates of purchase, of what would be the retail price of lamb, beef and pork, if no consumer subsidy was paid by the Government.

Mr. Webb

As the costs of meat vary widely, not only as between the different types, but according to sources of supply and, not least, differing qualities, it is impossible to give an answer which would not be very misleading. It would be even more misleading to give an estimate at any particular time as the full incidence of the subsidy on prices can only be measured over a full year in the light of changing seasonal supplies, and the offset against the subsidy of the sales of hides, wool and other by-products from home-killed animals.

60. Mr. Turton

asked the Minister of Food what is the present retail price of reindeer meat; and what quantity has been imported.

Mr. Webb

This meat is not the direct concern of the Ministry of Food. It is imported entirely by private traders and sold free of price restriction. I understand that it is selling at from 2s. to 4s. 6d. per lb., according to the cut. Imports are not separately recorded in the official trade returns, but the quantity is quite small.

62. Mr. Dodds-Parker

asked the Minister of Food how much beef and pork was received from East Africa and Rhodesia in 1950; and what action he is taking to increase the purchase by the United Kingdom from these territories.

Mr. Webb

No carcase beef was imported from these territories in 1950, but we obtained about 10 tons of tinned beef privately under licence from East Africa and about 600 tons of pork sides for bacon production from Kenya, in addition to a very small quantity of pork offals from Southern Rhodesia. We have a five-year contract for the supply of pork or bacon by Kenya. Carcase beef could not be imported at present from East Africa because of the prevalence there of rinderpest disease. There is no exportable surplus of carcase meat in Northern Rhodesia and only a small surplus in Southern Rhodesia. This is absorbed by neighbouring territories. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies is, however, doing everything possible to encourage meat production in the area, the successful results of which will contribute to reducing imports by these territories from United Kingdom sources of supply.

73. Mr. Dye

asked the Minister of Food whether, in view of his recent decision to divert pigs from bacon curers to the fresh meat market, it is now his policy to provide more pork and less bacon.

Mr. Webb

These measures are only temporary. It will remain our policy to use as many suitable pigs as possible for bacon production, but I am considering with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture what can be done to encourage the increased production of pigs in the early part of the year so as to make some available for consumption as fresh pork.

74. Mr. Hurd

asked the Minister of Food how much beef, veal, pork and ham he has purchased from France; and if deliveries are now being made.

Mr. Webb

My Department has recently bought 4,800 tons of beef from France, but no veal, pork or ham. Deliveries of the beef are expected to be completed by the end of this month.

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