HC Deb 28 May 1941 vol 371 cc1854-5
54. Lieut.-Colonel Heneage

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food what steps are being taken to safeguard the position of cottagers and others in the rural districts who have been accustomed to making jam from soft fruit, and will now be prevented from doing so by the Ministry of Food order; whether he is aware that in many cases it is not possible for this fruit to be disposed of to the women's institute or other body; and whether he will take steps to prevent the waste that will ensue?

Major Lloyd George

The hon. and gallant Gentleman is not correct in stating that domestic jam making is prevented by Ministry of Food order. It will be impossible, in view of the supply position, to issue extra sugar for jam making, either to owners of garden fruit or to persons who, in peace-time, make jam from bought fruit. Growers of fruit will, however, be free either to sell their crop to commercial jam makers, to use it for jam making or bottling themselves with any sugar that they may have saved from their domestic rations, or to sell it to one of the cooperative centres which are being established all over the country for this purpose. In these circumstances, I know of no reason to think that there will be any waste of fruit, as my hon. and gallant Friend fears.

Lieut.-Colonel Heneage

Is not my hon. and gallant Friend aware that in the rural districts they say there will be a great deal of waste?

Mr. Silverman

Does not the Minister realise that the policy of the Ministry in this respect is causing very great and bitter disappointment to a vast number of smallholders all over the country?

Major Lloyd George

We fully appreciate that. If it were possible, there is no question that sugar would be made available for this purpose, but the whole of this policy is dictated by one thing only, and that is the supply position.

Mr. Shinwell

Why did the Ministry beside to withdraw the sugar ration in cafés and then to allow it to continue?

Major Lloyd George

I would remind the hon. Gentleman that the Question put to me refers to sugar for soft fruits. With regard to the stone-fruit crop, my Noble Friend made a statement that, if the supply position permitted, the decision would be reconsidered.

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