§ 39. Mr. Murray
asked the Minister of Food if he is aware that, after all their registered customers had been served in the butchers' market, Newcastle, on Saturday, 20th June, notices were posted to the effect that meat was on sale to all; that, after selling to unregistered customers, when the market closed, butchers still had meat left on their hands; and what action he is taking to remedy this inequality in distribution.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food (Dr. Charles Hill)
I understand that a notice to this effect was put up by a trader in the Newcastle-butchers' market, although, shortly after, his employer ordered its removal. As my right hon. and gallant Friend announced on 26th June, butchers will be allowed to sell, free of ration restrictions, any meat which they may hold surplus to their ration requirements, as from 5th July.
§ Mr. Murray
Is the Minister aware that this is an example of the gross inefficiency of the Ministry of Food? Does he not realise that what he is now ordering to be done will only leave the poorest quality of meat on the market, which nobody will care to buy? What is he going to do about that?
Can the Minister tell us at what time in the week the butcher will be able to release extra supplies, and what provisions are made to see that those who are buying their rationed quantity may be able to get the better meat? Have we got to buy on the Monday, or can we postpone buying until later in the week and still have a reasonable opportunity of getting top quality meat?
§ Captain Duncan
Is the Minister aware that on this side of the House we welcome the relaxation of control and may I ask him when this relaxation can be made permanent?
§ Dr. Hill
When the supply of meat is regarded as sufficient over the whole of the year, and when a plan has been evolved for satisfying the requirements of the Agriculture Act, 1947, in respect of guaranteed prices and markets, full de-rationing will take place.
On a point of order. I do not think that my supplementary question was heard on the other side of the House, Sir. I was asking about the quality of meat and at what time in the week one must buy one's ration to ensure getting the better quality meat.
§ Mr. Speaker
There is no obligation on a Minister to answer a question. There is nothing I can do about it.