asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport whether he is aware that, in response to the Government request to retailers to cut down deliveries by 50 per cent., the butchers of Alton, Hampshire, have decided to cease deliveries altogether, thus causing great difficulties and hardship to dwellers in districts remote from the town; and whether the Ministry of Food was consulted before approval of this decision was given by the District Transport Officer?
When the Government asked retailers to rationalise their deliveries, the butchers of Alton proposed to stop deliveries of meat altogether. This proposal was not approved by the District Transport Officer. It is, of course, no part of the Government's intention that the public should be left without essential delivery services. I am informed that, as the result of a meeting held on 23rd February, the butchers now propose that there should, in general, be no deliveries of meat in Alton or in Chawton, but that they should deliver once a week in the rural parts of the district.
Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that the Butchers' Association—and this corresponds to what was published in the Press—demanded an assurance from the District Council that any butcher violating their decision would be forced into line by the Minister of Transport? The District Transport Officer replied that steps would be taken—
If the hon. and gallant Gentleman will let me have the correspondence, I will look into it. I am advised that the District Transport Officer took action to ensure that there would be a service to the outlying parts and to the hospital and that he agreed to the rest of the proposals.