HC Deb 10 March 1947 vol 434 cc940-3
40. Brigadier Low

asked the Minister of Food whether he has taken steps to ensure that sufficient food to honour the higher allocations made to some boarding houses and hotels, which will come into force on 30th March, reaches the shops in holiday resorts before that date so that there may be no difficulty in catering for all holiday-makers during the Easter holiday.

Dr. Summerskill

Yes, Sir; these arrangements have been made. Hotels and boarding houses must of course put in their demands to their food offices.

42. Mr. Gooch

asked the Minister of Food if he will make more food available in the rural districts and enable the farmworkers to further increase the output from our farms by ensuring that they get their fair share of what they produce.

Dr. Summerskill

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given on 6th March by the Prime Minister to a Question by the hon. Member for Canterbury (Mr. Baker White):

Mr. Gooch

Does the hon. Lady realise the tremendous task which faces farm-workers in this country in ensuring that our farms produce the utmost quantity of foodstuffs, and will she seek to remove from the minds of the farmworkers the impression that they have that some people think that plenty of fresh air and wide open spaces are effective substitutes for canteens, British Restaurants and full stomachs?

Dr. Summerskill

As my hon. Friend is aware, farmworkers are entitled to certain special allowances.

Lieut.-Commander Gurney Braithwaite

Does not the Government realise that the output of farmworkers is as vital to the country as the output of the coal miners?

Mr. Baldwin

Is the Minister aware that the extra ration is merely bread and cheese, that the farmworkers do not get the advantage of going to canteens, and that their wives have not the opportunity of dropping into a butcher's shop to pick up little oddments?

Dr. Summerskill

I am not aware of that. During the season of special activity, as the hon. Gentleman must know, the farmworkers are, in addition to bread and cheese, entitled to extra tea, sugar, preserves and points.

Mr. Nicholson

Is the hon. Lady aware that the spring sowing will take place in the next few weeks and that that is not included in the season of special activity?

Dr. Summerskill

Special rations are allowed during periods of activity, which include harvesting, threshing, hay making, sheep shearing, lambing, hoeing, singling of root crops, and certain hill sheep farming operations.

Mr. Nicholson

I was referring to the next few weeks when the spring sowing will take place.

68. Miss Bacon

asked the Minister of Food on what basis towns have been selected for the extra allocations of food.

66. Mr. D. J. Williams

asked the Minister of Food if there has been any recent change in the basis of allocating non-rationed foods to South Wales; if the allocations are still made on the basis of prewar purchases; and if he is satisfied that the people of this area are receiving an equitable share of the available supplies compared with other parts of the country.

73. Mr. Chetwynd

asked the Minister of Food if he has considered the supply of non-rationed foodstuffs to the North-east; and if he is now in a position to make increased allocations.

Dr. Summerskill

The allocations of certain foodstuffs, which include sugar and fats for flour confectionery, meat for the manufacture of meat products, and oil for fish frying, arc based on prewar purchases adjusted to allow for changes in population. As my hon. Friend is aware, the allocations of these foodstuffs are to be increased to areas which, before the outbreak of war, suffered from a high rate of unemployment and a low general level of earnings. A large part of South Wales and North-East England is included in the areas which will benefit; but some increases have already been applied in 1945 and 1946 to parts of South Wale's and North-East England on these grounds of heavy prewar unemployment. I am, however, quite satisfied that they will, by the present re-adjustment, receive an equitable share of supplies compared with other parts of the country.

Miss Bacon

Are we to understand that the lists published last week have nothing to do with extra foodstuffs for the miners?

Dr. Summerskill

Yes, Sir. The lists that were published last week dealt with those areas where there had been heavy unemployment and low rate earnings, but added to them were a number of mining areas.

Mr. Chetwynd

Is the Minister aware that this action will do much to increase production?

Mr. Anthony Greenwood

Will the Minister also bear in mind that unemployment in the textile areas was a good deal heavier than is indicated by the official unemployment figures, and will she pay special attention to that?

Dr. Summerskill

I will certainly look at it.

Mr. Mathers

May I ask the Minister what guarantee there is that the extra rations and extra foodstuffs will go into the homes of those who are expected to make the extra effort to produce the coal?

Dr. Summerskill

If the food is there, we hope the women will buy it.

Mr. Wilkes

Can the Minister say whether, for the period in which this concession is to be exercised, large towns like Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Middlesbrough, Stockton and others on the North-East coast are included in what are called mining areas?

Dr. Summerskill

There are a number of areas, and a vast number of places, so I will let the hon. Member have a list.