Conisborough Food Committee – Complaint about Butcher – Miners prefer Beef

February 1940

Mexborough & Swinton Times, February 17

Complaint about Butcher
At Conisborough Food Control Committee
Miners Prefer Beef

An accusation that a butcher was alleged to have shown preferential treatment to certain customers in their joints of meat was made at a meeting of the Conisborough Food Control Committee at the Council Offices on Tuesday. The name of the butcher was given and on the motion of Councillors D. Sheldon and T. J. Gregory it was agreed that a letter should be addressed to him by Mr. Spencer Baker, (Food Executive Officer).

Coun. G. Oldfield said that it had been brought to his notice – and they should write to every butcher in the district, because it would be very serious if this sort of thing was going to take place regularly – – that a certain butcher had taken his English meat out on Sunday mornings to customers, and it was not available for sale in his shop. That was wrong, said Coun. Oldfield, and added that the complainants had said that they were willing to attend before the Committee and bear out their statements. There should be no preferential treatment.

Coun. Sheldon complained that some of the meat received in the district was not up to standard and declared that the amount allocated per person was insufficient for men working in the mines. The matter he said, should be taken up with the Ministry of Food.

Coun. Tom Shephard stated that the amount of English meat allowed per person the previous week was five ounces.

Mr. H. Clare said that they had had some good quality meat, but the mutton had been “terrible”. He added, in reply to questions that as far as he know the meat had been shared out fairly throughout the Meat Pool area and no district had been treated better than Conisborough.

In answer to County Councillor Ben Roberts, Mr. Clare said that the complaints were against receiving mutton time after time. “Mutton is no good to the miners”, he added “In my opinion they want some stew”.

On the motion of councillors Sheldon and Oldfield it was decided to draw the attention of the Ministry of Food, the Divisional Food Agent at Leeds, and Mr. Tom Williams, M.P. to the need for increased allowances for men engaged in heavy work.

Mr. Clare stated that apart from the allocations to local pork butchers not a single pig had yet been received in the district.

County Councillor Roberts said that they should make it plain to the authorities that they did not want the same type of meat every week in the district.

It was agreed that they should ask for the area to receive its fair supply of pigs.

In reply to a question by Mr. J. R. M. Williamson, Mr. Spencer Baker explained that the Divisional Food Office had stated that they were arranging for an inspector to cover this and other districts. The inspector would live in Doncaster.

Mrs. J. T. E. Collins urged the need for a reduction in food prices, and pointed out that the poor people were unable to meet the high prices, and it was unanimously agreed that an appeal should be made to the authorities.

Food Officer´s Report

In his report, Mr Baker said most retailers of bacon and ham found difficulty in completing the fortnightly returns of purchases and sales. The reason for that was, he imagined, that the forms did not state whether the gross or the net weight should be shown as stock in hand. At the same time, however, a number of retailers did not send in those returns until the month end – that in spite of clear stamped directions on each of the forms.

Mr. Baker referred to the increase in the bacon ration and of the action he took on the matter, and went on to report that since the last meeting of the Committee the staff had had its first experience of counting coupons. It had checked and counted roughly 24,000 bacon and ham coupons, which represented a fortnight´s trading, and there had been a further 24,000 to cover the second fortnightly period.

There were 74 retailers of butter, who supplied 11.139 registered customers each week. This represented about 40,000 coupons each month, and each of the 74 returns were checked carefully. Seventy-five retailers of sugar served 11,478 registered customers and sent in more than 41,000 coupons and their returns were also checked.

In the district there were 45 catering establishments, most of which bought retail from local shops, and it was necessary therefore to check each order.


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