HC Deb 26 February 1918 vol 103 cc1232-4
12. Major NEWMAN

asked the Under secretary of State for War whether he is aware that the scale of dietary allowed to German prisoners is still largely in excess of what can be obtained by a citizen of London under the ration scheme now in operation; whether, for instance, the meat ration weekly is all but 2 lbs. and bread and biscuit 6 lbs.; and will he say whether this scale is given alike to prisoners of war and enemy aliens in internment camps, and is any discrimination made between those on active work of any description and those engaged in sedentary occupations or doing nothing?


asked why German prisoners of war in this country are now receiving, and as at present arranged are to continue to receive, more meat than our own people are now able to obtain, or than they will be allowed to receive under the forthcoming compulsory scheme of meat rationing?


I am circulating with the OFFICIAL REPORT the new scale of dietary for German prisoners of war, bringing it into line with the compulsory ration scheme now in force for London and the Home Counties, so far as that is possible. The meat ration is reduced to l ½ lbs. weekly, and the bread ration is 2 lbs. 3 ozs. weekly, with 30 ½ ozs. of broken biscuit. It should be borne in mind that the civil population are free to purchase substitutes, whereas the prisoner of war is restricted to a definite scale, which is the minimum prescribed by the medical authorities. All prisoners draw the same meat ration, but those doing hard work draw extra quantities daily of bread (4 ozs.), oatmeal or rice (1 oz.), cheese (1 oz.), and maize meal (½ oz.). The scale for interned civilians is a matter for the Home Office.


When will this come into force?


I believe it is in force now.


Will the hon. Gentleman see that when it does come into force the German prisoners of war will not be better off in this respect than our own women?


I would point out to the House that what I did say in answer to the question was that the scale allowed them now is the minimum prescribed by the medical authorities.


Does that mean that German prisoners cannot purchase anything in the dry canteen?


No; what I did say was that they could not purchase anything in the nature of substitutes.


Is it not a fact that Donington Hall still have a fairly free hand to purchase outside the dietary scale?


I think not. I answered that point quite recently.

Major HUNT

May I ask why, if they were given equal rations of meat, other substitutes could not be given them instead, so that German prisoners should not have more meat than our own people?


Can the Home Secretary tell us if his scale is ready yet?

The following is the Dietary Scale referred to:—

Daily Ration for Prisoners of War in Great Britain.
Article. Quantity.
Bread 5 ozs.
Biscuit 4 ozs.(broken), plus 2½ ozs. weekly.*
Flour Nil.
Meat (fresh or frozen) or Meat (preserved, tinned) 4 ozs. on 5 days a week.
Salt-cured Herrings 12 ozs. on 2 days a week.
Edible Fat Nil.
Tea ¼oz.
Coffee ½ oz.
Sugar 1 oz.
Salt ¼ Oz
Pepper (black) 7½oz.
Oatmeal or substitute 2 ozs. weekly.
Syrup or Jam 1 oz.
Split Peas or Beans or Rice 3 ozs.
Potatoes 20 ozs.
Fresh Vegetables (other than Potatoes) or Fruit 4 ozs.
43. Major HUNT

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food what is the amount of meat per week allowed for a German prisoner doing hard manual work and for a British workman doing the same kind of work; and what is the amount of meat per week allowed for an interned German not doing hard manual work and the amount allowed for a British man doing clerical work?


The ration allowance for military prisoners of war and for civilian internment camps is now being revised. The hon. and gallant Member may rest assured that in no case will the amount of any rationed foodstuff be in excess of that prescribed for the civilian population.


Could the hon. Gentleman either say now or have publicity given at an early date to the amount of extra food to which persons suffering from tuberculosis and persons requiring extra feeding are entitled, and is he aware that doctors do not know if they are within the pale of the law in prescribing such extra food?


This is a question relating to German prisoners.


Does the hon. Gentleman's reply cover also the rations given to British criminal prisoners, lunatics, paupers, and all other classes of non-productive citizens, and could he say whether any of them receive any larger ration than that allowed to the civil population?


The reply that I have given may be so interpreted. There will not be any difference.


Is there now a larger ration for any of the classes that I have enumerated?


That is the reason why the subject is now under revision.


Would the hon. Gentleman allow me to put my question as a Private Notice question?



Colonel LOWTHER (later)

I have been asked to postpone my question.