§ 55. Mr. Michael Foot
asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether 24 he has any estimates of the effect of the new cuts in German rations on German coal production; and whether he will make a statement on the probable effects on food production and general conditions in the British zone of Germany and in surrounding countries.
§ Mr. J. Hynd
No reliable estimate is possible at this stage of the effect on coal production of the cut in German rations. It is, however, evident that a reduction of miners' rations will be reflected in the output of coal: in July last, when the ration scale for miners was 2,500 calories, the output per manshift was approximately 0.6 tons, whereas in December, four months after the ration had been raised to 3,400 calories, the output per manshift had risen to 1.15 tons. The effects will also be felt by those countries who are largely dependent on German coal for their reconstruction.
§ Mr. Foot
Does not my hon. Friend think that the very grave statement which he has made shows the appalling danger for the whole of Western Europe; and, in view of the fact that our future is intimately bound up with that of Western Europe, will he undertake to review with his colleagues the whole of that situation, and to see whether this catastrophe cannot be prevented?
§ Mr. Boothby
Would the Minister consider the possibility of giving a special ration to the coalminers in Germany?
§ Mr. Hynd
Special rations have already been given to the coalminers in the Ruhr since, I believe, July last. Under the new scale, the Ruhr miners are having their rations reduced, although on a preferential basis, from 3,400calories to 2,864, which is higher than the allowance for any other group in the country. It is very much higher than the normal ration for the non-manual workers.
§ Mr. Foot
Is it not difficult to ensure that that preferential treatment goes to the miners? Do they not distribute the food to their families where the families are starving? Does it not indicate that the whole principle of the cuts in Germany should be re-examined, rather than the principle of extra food for the miners?