HC Deb 30 January 1918 vol 101 cc1544-6

asked the Prime Minister if he has received resolutions from workers' meetings at Burnley and other places protesting against the existing method of distribution of the available food of the country as unjust and unequal, and demanding that the Government should immediately take over the whole of. the available food and ration it in a fair and equitable manner; and what steps the Government are taking in regard to this matter?


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he is aware that large numbers of men are threatening immediate stoppage of work in order to stand in the food queues instead of their wives and daughters; and whether he has any proposals for avoiding a condition of things where hard-worked men have to go to to work underfed while their wives have to desert their household duties to stand in the queues?


A certain number of resolutions to the effect described in the questions have been received. Power was given to food control committees by an Order made 22nd December to put into force rationing schemes with a view to the prevention of queues. Under this power a large number of schemes have already been introduced, including one for Burnley, and other schemes are being introduced as rapidly as possible. I hope that shortly the greater part of the country will be covered by such schemes. Effective control is exercised over all foodstuffs included in the schemes, as well as over a number of other foodstuffs not at present included. Every possible assistance is being given to food control committees by the Ministry of Food in the preparation and administration of these schemes, and in particular steps are being taken as rapidly as possible to adjust the supplies of foods to the various localities according to their total needs. These steps, which involve drastic changes in the existing methods of distribution, cannot, however, be taken more rapidly than at present.


Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the local schemes of rationing have not up to the present had the effect of abolishing queues, and do the Government propose to establish any complete scheme of rationing for the whole country?


Yes, the Government does propose, later on, to establish what is termed a national scheme. A national scheme will only be effectively operated through local administration.

Colonel Sir C. SEELY

Has the Food Controller's Department formed any estimate of the extra amount of meat required if the allowance to everybody engaged on labour is the same as is provided for soldiers at home?


Yes, the first consideration in arranging the scheme is the con- sideration of an estimate of the different requirements of different groups of the population.

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