HC Deb 12 February 1947 vol 433 cc367-8
56. Sir W. Smithers

asked the Minister of Food whether in view of the severe wintry weather, he will instruct proprietors of village shops to carry a suitable reserve of food and give them the necessary facilities to enable them to do so.

Dr. Summerskill

No, Sir. Village shop keepers can maintain only such stocks as their facilities permit. Where a crisis arises, the Ministry co-operates with local authorities to get emergency supplies into stranded areas.

Sir W. Smithers

What happens when the roads are impassable, as they are in Knockholt, the place in which I live? Would the hon. Lady make arrangements for shopkeepers in small villages to have sufficient supplies for, say, two or three weeks, to enable them to overcome the wintry weather such as that which we are experiencing at present all over the country?

Dr. Summerskill

The hon. Gentleman must remember that all these shopkeepers are not wealthy men and they are unable to buy big supplies. During the present crisis, in the event of a village being cut off we have invited the R.A.F. to help us to send supplies.

Mr. Osborne

Is the hon. Lady aware that, in Lincolnshire, villages have been cut off for a fortnight, and that at Binbrook the R.A.F. were allowed to drop supplies to the R.A.F. station but not to the people of the village? Cannot supplies be put into these isolated villages?

Dr. Summerskill

I think the hon. Gentleman is anticipating a Question which he has on the Paper. If he will exercise a little patience, I think he will get a satisfactory answer.

Mr. Leslie Hale

Is the hon. Lady aware that this is the first admission that has come from the Conservative Benches that this is a severe winter?