Seed Potatoes (Damage in Transit).

Oral Answers to Questions — War Transport. – in the House of Commons on 25th February 1942.

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Photo of Sir Herbert Butcher Sir Herbert Butcher , Holland with Boston

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport whether he is aware that a proportion of seed potatoes transported by routes determined by his Ministry, have been frozen; and whether he has arranged for suitable compensation to be paid to the owners?

Photo of Mr Philip Noel-Baker Mr Philip Noel-Baker , Derby

I am informed that a number of consignments were found to be frosted on arrival. The Government cannot accept responsibility for damage caused to traffic because it was sent in the national interest by a route other than its normal route. If, however, any claims are based on alleged neglect or default of the transport undertakings, they will be considered by the undertakings on their merits in the usual way. I understand that my right hon. Friend the Minister of Food recently discussed their difficulties with the merchants' and growers' organisations, and that the representations then made are under consideration.

Photo of Sir Herbert Butcher Sir Herbert Butcher , Holland with Boston

While thanking the hon. Gentleman for his reply, may I ask whether he is aware that he is entirely forfeiting the good will of the people concerned if he disclaims responsibility in this matter? Will he not reconsider his decision?

Photo of Mr Philip Noel-Baker Mr Philip Noel-Baker , Derby

I am advised that if the Government accepted the principle contained in the hon. Member's suggestion, it would take them very far in present circumstances. The organisation concerned must recognise that the transport difficulties of the Government are very great. I hope the hon. Member will convey that the representations which have been made are being favourably and sympathetically considered by the Minister of Food.

Photo of Professor Douglas Savory Professor Douglas Savory , Queen's University of Belfast

Will the Minister explain the difference between "frosted" and "frozen"?

Photo of Mr Philip Noel-Baker Mr Philip Noel-Baker , Derby

I will make inquiries.