60. Miss Rathbone
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to he Ministry of Food how the recommendation to eat more potatoes and less bread can be reconciled with the necessity for using less fuel; and why, as a means towards this end, potato flour is not being used in making the national loaf?
§ Mr. Mabane
The principal consideration in reaching the decision to encourage an increase in the consumption of potatoes and a decrease in the consumption of bread was the saving of shipping. I would remind my hon. Friend that the manufacture of flour and the baking of bread consumes' fuel and power, and while an exact equation is clearly impossible it must not be presumed that the cooking of additional potatoes would consume more fuel and power than would be saved as the result of a corresponding reduction in the consumption of bread. The manufacture of potato flour, even if it were wholly satisfactory as a dilutant of bread, also consumes fuel and power.
Is my hon. Friend aware that the mere announcement of this Question produced a storm of approval from housewives? Is it not the case that potato flour was used in the manufacture of the national loaf in the last war, and why should it not be used in this war?
§ Mr. Mabane
Potato flour was not used in bread in the last war. Cooked potatoes were, but that is another matter. Potato flour uses a great deal of fuel, power and heat in drying the potatoes preliminary to the manufacture of the flour. It is not certain therefore that there would be any economy of fuel in making it.
§ Mr. Maxton
Does the hon. Gentleman realise that if bread continues to be as unpalatable as it is— [HON. MEMBERS: "No."]—the change to potatoes can be achieved without any propaganda at all.