HC Deb 16 October 1946 vol 427 cc894-6
65. Mr. George Wallace

asked the Minister of Food if he will now consider granting an extra allowance of milk to people over the age of 65.

Dr. Summerskill

My right hon. Friend very much regrets that he cannot grant extra milk for elderly people at the present time. It could only be done at the expense of other sections of the community, and he would not be justified in reducing their allowances still further.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Will the hon. Lady consider saving some of the immense waste which is going on with' school-children's milk, and allocate it to people who need it, such as old people?

Dr. Summerskill

It the hon. and gallant Member will give details of such waste we will certainly make inquiries, but I would remind him that there are five million people who are over 65 years of age.

Mr. Frank Byers

How much milk is being allocated for the manufacture of plastics?

Dr. Summerskill

Not one pint.

66. Mr. G. Wallace

asked the Minister of Food if he will make a statement on the milk position in the country; to what extent milk is being poured down drains by farmers because they are unable to dispose of it; and what percentage of the milk production of this country is being used in industrial manufacture.

Dr. Summerskill

Production of milk in England and Wales during the week ending 5th October, the latest date for which figures are available, is estimated at 21.7 million gallons, and liquid sales at 21.05 million gallons. The surplus of 0.65 million gallons is being used mainly for the manufacture of baby food and cheese. It is quite untrue that any is used for industrial manufacture.

Mr. Wallace

Is the hon. Lady aware that the implied statement in the second part of my Question has not been answered? Is she further aware that this statement was made at a public meeting in my division by the national chairman of the British Housewives' League?

Dr. Summerskill

I thought that I had dealt with the question of milk being used for industrial purposes.

Hon. Members: Milk "being poured down drains."

80. Sir Henry Morris-Jones

asked the Minister of Food whether he will review the whole position of the present allocation of milk as between priority and non-priority consumers.

84. Mr. Heathcoat Amory

asked the Minister of Food whether he is aware of the hardship imposed on elderly people and others who live alone arising from the present reduced supplies of milk; and whether he will arrange for a fairer distribution of existing supplies between priority and non-priority consumers.

Dr. Summerskill

I have recently reviewed the allocation of milk as between priority and non-priority consumers, after consultation with the Standing Committee on Medical and Nutritional Problems. I hope it will not be necessary to reduce the supply to non-priority adults below two pints per week during the winter, and I shall increase it above that figure so soon as the output rises in the spring. I am not prepared to reduce the quantities supplied to mothers and children below the present amounts, which my medical advisers recommend as essential. I am sorry that I cannot make special arrangements in the case of the elderly and people living alone.

Sir H. Morris-Jones

Is the hon. Lady aware that the present ration of two pints of milk is completely insufficient, especi- ally for single people and those in humble circumstances?

Dr. Summerskill

I can assure the hon. Gentleman that we have never pretended that the present figure is the maximum which we would like people to have.

Sir H. Morris-Jones

In view of the unsatisfactory position in regard to milk distribution, I beg to give notice that I will raise this matter on the Adjournment at the first opportunity.