HC Deb 02 May 1895 vol 33 c298

If we examine the increased and increasing consumption of non-dutiable articles, such as meat, eggs, sugar, butter, and cheese; fruit, apples, oranges, and lemons; fuel, as coal; and light, as petroleum, we shall find from year to year, and markedly last year, an increase in the average consumption of these articles. There is one article which is perhaps a greater test than any other, and that is meat. In the article of meat let us take not a single year's average, but the averages of two or three years. In the three years, 1882 to 1884, the consumption of meat was 1081b. per head; and in the three years, 1891–93, the consumption was 119lb. per head, or an increase of 10 per cent. The consumption of foreign and home-grown meat in 1891–93 was the largest that ever took place; and the increase in the consumption of an article like meat is a significant indication of the well-being of the people. The figures go to show that the mass of the people have in the past year, and in many years past, been able to obtain and have enjoyed still larger quantities of the necessaries and comforts of life at lower prices.