HC Deb 22 November 1948 vol 458 cc860-1
55. Mr. De la Bère

asked the Minister of Food whether he will consult the National Chamber of Trade and all other appropriate organisations which are representative of large sections of the retailers throughout the country in respect of all food allocation quotas.

59. Mr. Langford-Holt

asked the Minister of Food why he has abandoned the principle of consultations with representatives of the trade regarding the allocation of food supplies; and how many of these consultations have taken place in the last six months.

Dr. Summerskill

My right hon. Friend cannot undertake to consult trade associations about every allocation of food; he will continue, as in the past to do so on all appropriate occasions. All commodity divisions of the Ministry are in frequent, sometimes daily, consultation with the trade, but it would be impossible to say on how many occasions the question of allocations has been discussed during the past six months.

Mr. De la Bère

Are we to understand that the Government are going to persist in their arbitrary methods of food allocation? Is the hon. Lady aware of the feeling over the allocation to the co-operative societies? Why not seek information from all sources where she will really gain something?

Dr. Summerskill

We do, Sir.

Mr. De la Bère

Will the hon. Lady do it again.

60. Mr. Frederic Harris

asked the Minister of Food whether in view of his decision to increase certain allocations to co-operative societies, the former basis of allocation on a pre-war standard is no longer generally applicable to food manufacturers.

Dr. Summerskill

Recent decisions in respect of co-operative societies relate only to the additional supplies of sugar made available to certain of the food manufacturing industries. Basic quotas remain unaffected except where, as in the case of preserves, a new principle of allocation has been adopted.

Mr. Harris

Does not the hon. Lady appreciate that the basis of nearly nine years ago is becoming out of date? I sincerely hope that the hon. Lady will consider that point, in view of the decision taken lately in regard to co-operative societies, and that she may consider it worth while to reconsider the general system of the datum period.

Dr. Summerskill

I assure the hon. Gentleman that we are very much concerned with the matter and that we are trying to devise another scheme.