Storage.

Oral Answers to Questions — Food Defence Plans. – in the House of Commons on 19th July 1939.

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Photo of Mr Henry White Mr Henry White , Birkenhead East

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether all accommodation suitable for the storage of food is being fully utilised and if arrangements have been made to use any accommodation which may not be fully utilised by the firms owning it for the storage of Government reserves?

Photo of Sir Nicholas Grattan-Doyle Sir Nicholas Grattan-Doyle , Newcastle upon Tyne North

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether all plans have been completed for the inland storage of adequate reserves of imported food, grains, meat, and pastoral products to cover demand for an ox tended period, so that storage accommodation may not have to be arranged in a hurry and at the last moment should necessity arise?

Photo of Mr Pierse Loftus Mr Pierse Loftus , Lowestoft

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what action His Majesty's Government has taken under the powers given in the Essential Commodities Reserves Act, 1938, to increase storage accommodation for food reserves?

Photo of Mr Daniel Lipson Mr Daniel Lipson , Cheltenham

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether the Government has had a complete survey of all food storage accommodation in the country under the powers given by the Essential Commodities Reserves Act, 1938, or otherwise; and what action it has taken to utilise accommodation which is, or could be made, suitable for that purpose though not specially designed for it?

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

Existing storage accommodation, a substantial part of which is inland, is used for the storage of Government reserves, when such accommodation is suitable and when it is available in the light of commercial requirements which vary from time to time. In some cases the accommodation has been specially adapted. Accommodation has been erected for Government reserves when existing accommodation has been unsuitable or insufficient. Close examination has been given, in connection with the plans for importation and distribution in time of war, to the availability in convenient centres of accommodation which would serve for storage purposes and a record has been prepared of suitable accommodation. Steps are being taken to provide adequate accommodation to meet the estimated requirements and arrangements have been made for the removal and storage inland of commercial stocks of certain important commodities should the necessity arise.

Photo of Mr Henry White Mr Henry White , Birkenhead East

Is the House to understand that the existing storage is fully occupied by reserve stocks of one kind and another?

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

I could not quite say that because some of the existing storage is unsuitable for these reserves by reason either of its construction or of its location. Also a great deal of the storage is commercial storage, the call upon which varies from time to time. But I can go is far as to say that all public storage is adequately utilised.

Photo of Mr Daniel Lipson Mr Daniel Lipson , Cheltenham

Can the right hon. Gentleman say by what date he expects the storage that is required for food to be, in his own words adequate; and can he tell us whether the amount of food storage in this country is as great as that which Germany has provided?

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

I would require notice of the second part of the hon. Member's question. In regard to the first part, it would be impossible to give an accurate date because the situation as regards reserves is being reviewed from time to time in the light of the general situation, and as it is not a case of a static requirement, it is impossible to prognosticate an exact date.

Photo of Mr Pierse Loftus Mr Pierse Loftus , Lowestoft

Has my right hon. Friend made inquiries as to the extensive and excellent accommodation available in makings, and also perhaps in distilleries and breweries which is not utilised at present, and will he take a census of available accommodation?

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

We have made inquiries into the question of the storage which is available. I will pay particular attention to the aspect of the question to which my hon. Friend refers.

Photo of Mr Aneurin Bevan Mr Aneurin Bevan , Ebbw Vale

In view of the abnormally low price of wheat, is it the Minister's intention to purchase larger quantities of grain and straw for both economic and military reasons?

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

There is a question on the Paper dealing with that important matter.

Photo of Mr George Griffiths Mr George Griffiths , Hemsworth

Is there not sufficient storage in the old age pensioner's pantry?

Photo of Mr John Parker Mr John Parker , Romford

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether he is satisfied that the amount of cold storage accommodation is sufficient; and, if not, what steps he is taking to increase it under the powers given in the Essential Commodities Reserves Act, 1938?

Photo of Mr Reginald Fletcher Mr Reginald Fletcher , Nuneaton

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what steps he is taking to ensure that there shall be sufficient cold storage facilities in West and South-West of England to meet the contingency of our having to route food ships to Western instead of Eastern ports?

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

I would refer the hon. Members to the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Holborn (Sir R. Tasker), on 7th June.

Mr. Johnston:

Can the right hon. Gentleman do anything quickly to increase the storage accommodation for food among householders in reception areas?

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

As the right hon. Gentleman is aware, I did make a statement on that question on 5th July. From the correspondence that has reached me, I think it has had a great deal of publicity, but I am taking steps to inquire whether it cannot be more widely disseminated.

Photo of Mr Reginald Fletcher Mr Reginald Fletcher , Nuneaton

Can the right hon. Gentleman refresh my memory about the reply to which he has referred? Is the cold storage in the West country really adequate?

Photo of Mr James Griffiths Mr James Griffiths , Llanelly

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether, in the preparation of the plans for storing and distributing food in an emergency, consideration has been given to the prior claims of those who are engaged in heavy manual labour; and what measures have been taken to deal with this position?

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

The rationing scheme provides for an additional quantity of meat in the case of persons engaged in heavy manual labour.

Photo of Mr James Griffiths Mr James Griffiths , Llanelly

In drawing up the scheme and making arrangements for the storage of food, have the representatives of the workers of the country been consulted at any stage to see whether they think the plans are adequate?

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

I would not like to say offhand, but I will make inquiries as to what consultations have been held. I do know, however, that a generous allowance is made for those engaged in heavy work.

Photo of Mr James Griffiths Mr James Griffiths , Llanelly

Will the right hon. Gentleman realise that it is important that the workers should be satisfied, and if that consideration has not been borne in mind, will he undertake to have such consultations?