HC Deb 21 October 1920 vol 133 cc1070-1
40. Mr. W. THORNE

asked the Prime if he is aware of the seriousness of the discontent caused by the decision of the Government to remove the bread subsidy, in view of the fact that this winter the cost of living will be higher than at any period during the control; if the Government will reconsider their decision, which, if adhered to, will mean suffering and privation to the majority of the community; if he is aware that the increase in the cost of bread on Monday, 18tb October, means to some families an extra cost of 3s. per week; if he is aware that the consumers' council passed a resolution to ask the Government to receive a deputation, and the Food Controller was asked to introduce the delegation; and if he will take action in the matter?


The decision of the Government to abolish the bread subsidy was announced many months ago, and public opinion as a whole has welcomed the removal of subsidies to which the financial objections are manifest. I fully share the regret of my hon. Friend that the first stage in the abolition of the subsidy should have coincided with the beginning of the coal strike, in consequence of which a large number of men in other employments must be thrown out of work. Representations have been made in the sense indicated in the question, but I fear that, notwithstanding the hardships involved, it is impossible to vary the decision which was based upon the considered opinion of the Government.


Is the increase of the selling cost of flour by the Government due to the fact that the Food Controller made a bad bargain?


No, quite the contrary. Thanks to the operation of the Wheat Commission, and in great part to the subsidy, our people have been getting bread cheaper than otherwise they could have got it.