HC Deb 08 March 1945 vol 408 cc2228-9
77. Mr. Bowles

asked the Secretary of State for War when the troops under S.E.A.C. are to receive the increase in the rations of tobacco, cigarettes and beer promised after Lord Minister's visit.

The Financial Secretary to the War Office (Mr. Arthur Henderson)

I am not aware of the promise to which my hon. Friend refers. The present ration of cigarettes or tobacco which is issued to all officers and men on field service in S.E.A.C. is 50 cigarettes or two ounces of tobacco a week. An increase of this ration to 100 cigarettes or four ounces of tobacco for British troops in the forward areas has now been authorised. Considerable efforts are being made to step up the supply of beer, and it is hoped to achieve an appreciable increase from June onwards.

Mr. Bowles

If I send my hon. and learned Friend a copy of a letter I have received from people in S.E.A.C. in which they say they have been promised this increase but have not had it, will he look into the matter?

Mr. Henderson

I would remind my hon. Friend that the increase has just been authorised.

Mr. Evelyn Walkden

May I ask the Minister to re-read Lord Munster's report? Is he aware that it is not so much the quantity but the quality of the cigarettes and the fact that they are produced in India, and that they are very unpopular? Are we sending cigarettes from this country?

Mr. Henderson

I hope my hon. Friend will realise that the quality of the cigarettes depends on imports of American tobacco but we are hopeful that in the near future some improvement may be possible.

Mr. E. Walkden

Are they cigarettes like those we smoke at home?