HC Deb 02 March 1949 vol 462 cc360-1
53. Mr. Fitzroy Maclean

asked the Minister of Food the proportion of the population who at present obtain at least one principal meal of the day in restaurants or canteens; and whether he will do anything to help those members of the public who do not enjoy this advantage.

Mr. Strachey

Estimates derived from our Family Food Survey seem to indicate that some 30 per cent. of urban workers now take at least one meal per working day in canteens or restaurants. We give the compensating advantage of a cheese ration of some eight times the normal to those classes of rural workers who have little access to canteens, etc.

Captain Crookshank

Can the Minister say what proportion of these people other than Members of the House of Commons have their meals subsidised?

Mr. Strachey

No, I cannot give the proportion, but some canteens subsidise their meals.

Mr. Frank Byers

Is the Minister aware that there are many people in the rural areas who have no access to canteens but who, nevertheless, cannot get the cheese ration? Will he look into that question?

Mr. Strachey

We have often looked into it.

Mr. Maclean

Is the Minister aware of the considerable hardship inflicted on old-age pensioners both in urban and rural areas by the present system?

Mr. Driberg

Arising out of that supplementary question, will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that one way of complying with the request contained in the second part of the Question on the Paper is to encourage local authorities to exercise their right of organising mobile canteens to serve meals to old people living alone?

Mr. Strachey

I think that that is a valuable suggestion.