The subject of butter and its price has been a sensitive one since the beginning of the war. As the cost of buying butter rose steadily, there were concerns expressed over the impact on poorer islanders. There were also claims of profiteering, especially after concerted attempts by producers and some States Members to prevent the import of cheaper margarine. Their defence was that permitting the sale of butter substitutes would ruin the island’s dairy industry.
In order to protect local supplies of butter and ensure fair price, in January 1915 the Lieutenant Governor ordered a ban on exports if the retail price exceeded £1 and 10 shillings per pound. According to the Evening Post, however, local producers have been shipping butter to Guernsey, where higher prices are obtainable. Their report suggests that shipments are totalling around 100lb per week.
Most scandalous of all, the newspaper claims, is that the exports are sanctioned by the Island Defence Committee (IDC), which has issued the necessary licences.
In a States session this week, the IDC responded, claiming that the reports were inaccurate and accusing the Evening Post of trying to stir up public discontent.
A/E/10/4 contains instructions by the Lieutenant Governor setting out rules for the exportation of butter.