As Britain's first national dock stoppage since the General Strike of 1926 entered its second full day on Friday (17 July), food markets functioned normally and no rush on stocks was reported.
As Britain's first national dock stoppage since the General Strike of 1926 entered its second full day on Friday (17 July), food markets functioned normally and no rush on stocks was reported. The Government was assured by food trade leaders that supplies were sufficient and that there was no need for panic buying.
In Smithfield Market, London's major meat clearing-house, supplies of most imported and home-grown meat products were reportedly normal and there was said to be sign of shortages in sight.
The same was reportedly true at Covent Garden, the main fruit and vegetables market situated in Central London. There was no rush by retailers to buy supplies during the day's trading.
Under the emergency regulations imposed on Thursday (16 July) the Conservative Government has the power to impose rationing for every type of food. But in meetings with Agriculture Minister James Prior, food trade leaders assured him that food supplies were under control.
The Minister said in a statement that he was confident the trade leaders would impose their close liaison over arrangements for procuring and distributing food and that the state of the nation's larger would remain healthy.
There should be plenty of food in the shops this weekend and no need for increases in prices, the Minister said.
Price control is one of the Government's new emergency powers which came into effect on Friday and will remain in force for 28 days.
Another power the regulations give the Government is the use of troops to shift perishable cargos and to keep vital raw materials moving. According to a Government spokesman, troops would not be used until at least Monday (20 July), at the earliest.
No peace moves in the dispute were planned for Friday by either side, unions or employers. Some industrial observers believe the strike could last for up to six weeks.