Fish Landings, Lowestoft

Oral Answers to Questions — Food Supplies – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29th June 1949.

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Photo of Mr Richard Stokes Mr Richard Stokes , Ipswich 12:00 am, 29th June 1949

asked the Minister of Food whether he is aware that on 20th June Skipper J. R. C. Reader landed 495 stones of dabs at Lowestoft only one-third of which were sold at 4s. a stone and that the remainder were sent to the farmers for manure at 2d. a stone, whereas the same class of fish was being sold in Ipswich at 14s. a stone; and what steps he proposes to take to ensure that good fish is not thrown away for manure but sold at the proper price to the advantage of the consuming public.

Photo of Dr Edith Summerskill Dr Edith Summerskill , Fulham West

On 20th June, 360 stones of fish, out of about 6,500 stones landed at Lowestoft, were not sold and were sent away for manure. This fish, which included a part of Skipper Reader's catch, was mostly small and thin dabs, for which there is little demand. The fish on sale in Ipswich at the maximum retail price may have come from other ports and were, presumably, of better size and quality. While we are anxious that distributors should pass on to the public the benefits of any reduction in the first-hand price, there is no practicable way of enforcing them to do so.

Photo of Mr Richard Stokes Mr Richard Stokes , Ipswich

May I ask my right hon. Friend whether the practice now is to see that at least the best of the fish is being distributed at a cheaper price, and can she assure the House that her Department is not continuing to follow the good old Tory policy of throwing the surplus away?

Photo of Dr Edith Summerskill Dr Edith Summerskill , Fulham West

I should have thought it was quite clear to my hon. Friend that we do not follow the Tory policy—he should know—that and I should say that sometimes his conclusions are a little hasty and that he should ascertain his facts more carefully. As he has studied this matter, perhaps he will give me the benefit of his information and tell me how we can compel retailers to reduce the price?

Photo of Mr Richard Stokes Mr Richard Stokes , Ipswich

We certainly cannot compel the retailer. I am talking about the right hon. Lady's Department. Her information is altogether different from that which I have had from Skipper Reader, who has explained exactly what the fish is like, and what he says does not in the least resemble what the right hon. Lady says.

Photo of Dr Edith Summerskill Dr Edith Summerskill , Fulham West

The hon. Gentleman may rest assured that Skipper Reader is quite comfortable. I understand that he will realise over £1,000 from this catch.

Photo of Mr Thomas Scollan Mr Thomas Scollan , Renfrewshire Western

Would the right hon. Lady say whether anything is being done to reconsider the whole matter of the sale and distribution of fish in the ports, as the method which has operated has always been very unsatisfactory?

Photo of Dr Edith Summerskill Dr Edith Summerskill , Fulham West

The hon. Gentleman knows that we are always considering this matter and that we have very recently made a great alteration in it.

Photo of Mr Richard Stokes Mr Richard Stokes , Ipswich

In view of the right hon. Lady's impertinent reply, may I ask whether there is any justification whatever for throwing fish away merely because——

Photo of Mr Douglas Clifton Brown Mr Douglas Clifton Brown , Hexham

The hon. Gentleman must remember that Erskine May says that epithets and controversial or offensive expressions are out of Order.

Hon. Members:

Withdraw!

Photo of Mr Richard Stokes Mr Richard Stokes , Ipswich

I will certainly withdraw, but the right hon. Lady should not cry stinking fish.