HC Deb 02 July 1941 vol 372 cc1349-51
51. Mr. Mathers

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food, what steps it is proposed to take to prevent waste of stone fruit, especially in the case of producers who cannot afford to purchase sugar or bottles for preserving?

Major Lloyd George

The fruit preservation centres which are being set up throughout the country are intended to deal with cases of this kind. Producers who are unable to preserve the fruit in their own homes can dispose of it to the nearest centre for preservation. It should in most cases also be possible to dispose of any privately-grown surplus fruit through the trade. In view of the probable shortness of the stone fruit crop, there is likely to be a good demand.

Mr. Mathers

Is it hoped by these means to prevent the waste which took place last year?

Major Lloyd George

Certainly, the main purpose of the centres is to avoid waste.

Lieut.-Colonel Heneage

Are these centres capable of dealing with the sudden influx of fruit which is likely to occur?

Major Lloyd George

I very much regret to say that, on present indications, I cannot see much likelihood of a rush.

53. Mr. Stokes

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food the comparative quantities of tin-plate allocated, respectively, for the preservation of vegetables and jam?

Major Lloyd George

The total quantity of tin-plate allocated for jam preservation ' during the current calendar year is 4,237 tons, of which 1,500 tons will, it is estimated, be required for the making of metal tops for glass jars of jam packed for the home market. It is not yet possible to form an accurate estimate of the allocation of tin-plate which will be necessary for the canning of vegetables of the 1941 crop, but, according to present indications, it will be about 50,000 tons.

Mr. Stokes

Is my hon. and gallant Friend aware that not long ago several hundred tons of marmalade were lost as a result of the refusal of the Ministry of Supply to allocate tin-plate? Does the hon. and gallant Member not think it preferable that vegetables should be bottled, and more jam tinned?

Major Lloyd George

I am aware of the incident of which my hon. Friend has spoken. I am hoping to inquire further into the position.

Mr. Stokes

But why should such a disproportionate amount of tin be allocated to the preservation of vegetables, and so little to the preservation of jam?

56. Mr. Leach

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether, in making arrangements for the sale of soft fruit, he has had in mind the many housewives who bottle fruit and make their own jam; and whether he will ensure supplies for them.

Major Lloyd George

As my noble Friend has recently explained, it is necessary to divert a larger proportion than usual of the soft fruit crops to the jam manufacturers, in order that the preserves ration may be raised to 4 oz. per week as from 28th July. Supplies of soft fruit in the shops this summer are, therefore, bound to be reduced, and it would not be possible to ensure supplies for all housewives who wish to bottle fruit and make their own jam.

Mr. Leach

Would my hon. and gallant Friend bear in mind that home-made jam is the best?

Major Lloyd George

I have heard that before. But the difficulty is that we cannot possibly, in the present situation of this year's fruit crop, have enough to give to the jam manufacturers and to the general public.

Mr. Evelyn Walkden

Is the Minister aware that housewives generally would far rather be assured of a jam supply in the winter than of a meager supply of strawberries and cream for a few weeks in the summer?