HC Deb 19 November 1941 vol 376 cc312-3
77. Mr. Leslie

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he is aware that in the rural districts and urban villages many families bake their own bread, and feel aggrieved over the recent increase in the price of flour, while concessions are made in shop-baked bread; and, in view of the hardship imposed, will he give consideration to a reduction in the price of flour and thus encourage the home production of bread?

Major Lloyd George

I would refer my hon. Friend to the explanation I gave in reply to a Question from my hon. Friend the Member for Dewsbury (Mr. Riley) on 22nd October.

Mr. G. Griffiths

Does the Minister know that throughout the country that reply was regarded as the most unsatisfactory reply which he has given from that Box, and that women who bake their own bread are up in arms?

Major Lloyd George

I am sorry that the hon. Member should take that view.

Mr. Griffiths

It is not my view; it is their view.

Major Lloyd George

Will the hon. Member convey to them that even with the increased price they can still make bread cheaper than they can buy it?

Mr. Leslie

Does the Minister not think that it is a decided handicap that people in these remote areas should be penalised in this way while in the towns the bread is cheaper?

Major Lloyd George

The reason is that about 40 per cent. of flour is used for other purposes than the baking of bread, and it is administratively impossible to differentiate between the flour used for bread and for other purposes. There is still an enormous subsidy to flour, and the increased cost of home baked bread will not come to more than about 1d. per head per week.

Mr. R. J. Taylor

Is the Minister aware that women in the North resent the suggestion that they are using this flour to make cakes instead of bread?

Major Lloyd George

Nobody is making such an allegation. My explanation was that 40 per cent. of the flour used in this country goes to purposes other than bread-making.

Mr. Taylor

Is the Minister aware that that does not apply in the North country?

Major Lloyd George

The hon. Member must appreciate the administrative difficulty there would be in dividing the flour which goes to cakes from that which goes to bread.

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