HC Deb 04 August 1943 vol 391 cc2297-8
57. Mr. Douglas

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he will arrange for oranges to be distributed through maternity and child-welfare centres in order to make certain that they do in fact go to families where there are young children?

Mr. Mabane

No, Sir. My Noble Friend is not of opinion that the suggestion of my hon. Friend, even if it were practicable, would be an improvement on existing arrangements.

Mr. Douglas

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there is a great deal of dissatisfaction about this, and what steps does he take to ensure that the oranges reach the children for whom they are intended?

Mr. Mabane

We have made very careful inquiries on this point and have very full evidence that nearly all R.B.2 holders do obtain oranges when they are available. If the distribution was arranged in the way the hon. Member suggests there would be more inconvenience and probably a great deal of wastage.

Mr. Sorensen

Would it not be possible to consider distributing some of these oranges to the schools?

Mr. Mabane

I think the hon. Member will realise how extraordinarily difficult it would be to arrange quite a different form of distribution for a highly perishable commodity.

Mr. E. Walkden

Does not the hon. Gentleman know that many shopkeepers keep oranges for five days, denying the children the right to the oranges, and then sell them to anybody on the sixth day?

Mr. Mabane

I think the hon. Member will agree that most retailers pursue a much more honest policy than that.