HC Deb 12 February 1941 vol 368 cc1355-6
50. Mr. Sloan

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he is aware that cheese is a staple diet among miners, and will he undertake to provide a ration of at least 12 ounces a week to each person employed in the mines?

56. Mr. J. Griffiths

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he is aware of the fact that the failure to secure supplies of cheese deprives coalminers of one of the most important foods for the coalmine work; and whether he will take steps to secure a fairer distribution of cheese to coalminers?

Major Lloyd George

As I have stated on previous occasions, the general public has been asked to reduce their consumption of cheese to enable more to be available for those who need it. The present shortage of cheese is due to seasonal factors, accentuated by shipping considerations but my Noble Friend is endeavouring to secure the maximum imports possible. The supplies at present available would not permit of the provision for specific classes, including miners, of an allowance at the rate suggested but the operation of cheese distribution is being closely and actively examined, and meanwhile coal-mining areas are receiving an equitable share of the available allocations.

Mr. George Griffiths

While considering this matter will the Minister bear in mind that a tremendous number of diabetics cannot get cheese, which is one of their essential foods? I have scores of letters about it.

Mr. J. Griffiths

In view of the existing shortage and the difficulty of securing adequate supplies of cheese for miners, will the hon. and gallant Gentleman consider giving a priority ration for miners because nothing else can replace cheese for them?

Major Lloyd George

This question, particularly with regard to what my hon. Friend has in mind, is being actively pursued. There are difficulties. For instance, the ration suggested by the hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Sloan) in his Question would give 15 per cent, of the cheese supplies to 2 per cent. of the population. At the present time the South Wales area is receiving more than the average for the rest of the community.

Mr. Sloan

Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that cheese is unobtainable in Ayrshire, and will he consider the complete withdrawal of cheese from restaurants and from the dining room of this House so that a larger ration may be given to such workers as miners?

Major Lloyd George

I can assure my hon. Friend that we have this matter very much in mind and are most sympathetic to the point of view which has been expressed by hon. Gentlemen.

Major Heilgers

Will my hon. and gallant Friend remember that without cheese the agricultural worker's wife is unable to provide the basis of the ploughman's dinner?

Major Lloyd George

That is one of the difficulties we have to face; once we start taking action, every section of labour wants special treatment, but agricultural labour does come in more than miners.

53. Mr. Wedgwood

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he can arrange for a cheese ration to be issued in exchange for a meat ration for those who do not use the latter?

Major Lloyd George

The Food Rationing (Special Diets) Advisory Committee of the Medical Research Council were recently asked to consider the present position of vegetarians and persons on special diets in the light of the restricted supplies of certain unrationed commodities, and their report is awaited. My Noble Friend will bear my right hon. Friend's suggestion in mind.

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