HC Deb 07 December 1943 vol 395 c752
7. Mr. Oldfield

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Warfare whether he is aware that 109,511 supplementary ration books have been issued to sufferers from tuberculosis in February, 1943, in Belgium; that at least one-third of the young persons in Belgium are suffering from tuberculosis; that 30 per cent. of the schoolchildren in urban areas are suffering from tuberculosis; and whether he will, in view of these figures, allow more foodstuffs to be imported into Belgium?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Warfare (Mr. Dingle Foot)

According to my information, it is correct that 109,511 supplementary ration books were issued in Belgium in February, 1943, to persons certified to be suffering from tuberculosis. Undoubtedly there has been a serious increase since the German occupation in the incidence of this disease. I cannot, however, accept the accuracy of the statements contained in the second and third parts of the Question. As regards the last part of the Question, I have nothing to add to my former statements on this subject.

Mr. Oldfield

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that these cases which he has enumerated are the very worst of cases?

Mr. Foot

No, Sir. I am not prepared to accept that statement. Under the system that now prevails in Belgium anyone may apply to his doctor for a certificate showing that he is suffering from tuberculosis. It is open to a doctor to give it even if the suffering is only to a slight degree.

Mr. Edmund Harvey

Will my hon. Friend realise that in the treatment of tuberculosis the supply of adequate amounts of milk is essential, and will he bear that in mind in dealing with the request of the Belgian Government for an increase in the supply of milk?