HC Deb 24 July 1946 vol 426 cc40-1
52. Mr. Shurmer

asked the Minister of Food whether, in view of the public dissatisfaction concerning the beer supplies of Birmingham, which were reduced by 50 to 75 per cent. during Victory weekend while the cut in barley supplies has been only 15 per cent., he will inquire into the widespread faulty distribution of beer.

Dr. Summerskill

My right hon. Friend cannot find that supplies of beer in Birmingham were reduced during Victory weekend to the extent suggested. On the contrary, brewers and publicans, by conserving stocks, increased supplies during the period to above 85 per cent. of those in the previous year.

Mr. Shurmer

Is my hon. Friend aware that there is still dissatisfaction in Birmingham on the question of beer supplies, and that what the people there want are not figures on paper, but beer in glasses?

Dr. Summerskill

Now that the gravity of beer is to be reduced I think my hon. Friend will find that the beer will be more thirst quenching, and that there will be more to go round.

Mr. Skeffington-Lodge

Will my hon. Friend watch the beer supply position, not only in Birmingham but elsewhere, because there is a widespread feeling that supplies are being withheld with a political object behind it?

63. Colonel Wigg

asked the Minister of Food if he will arrange for increased sup-lies of beer to go to Dudley and Netherton in view of the special needs of heavy manual workers engaged in chain making, mining and similar industries.

Dr. Summerskill

My right hon. Friend announced yesterday that he had arranged for the brewers to produce a larger quantity of beer by reducing average gravities by 10 per cent. This will, in part, mitigate the present shortage. My right hon. Friend regrets that it would not be practicable to make special arrangements for the varying needs of different classes of workers, as suggested by my hon. and gallant Friend.

Mr. Nally

Is my hon. Friend aware that I represent an adjoining constituency where there is a far heavier percentage of workers in all the industries mentioned in the schedule? If she intends to be generous at any time will she bear in mind constituencies other than that of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Dudley (Colonel Wigg)?

Dr. Summerskill

Perhaps my hon. Friend can tell me how to assess a degree of thirst.

Mr. Nally

I would be happy to be used for testing purposes.