HC Deb 28 November 1949 vol 470 cc758-9
14. Mr. David Jones

asked the Minister of Food if he can now make, a statement about the Christmas bonus issue of meat.

Mr. Strachey

Yes, Sir. It is now clear that we shall end the year with sufficient stocks of meat to give, not merely a Christmas bonus for one week, but to raise the regular weekly meat ration for a period. This does not mean that imports during the first half of the year—when home killings are always low—are likely to be large enough to maintain the increased ration indefinitely. We cannot, however, increase our stocks still further owing to the fact that our cold stores are now full: in fact we are using 11 refrigerated ships as stores.

Accordingly, the meat ration will be increased from 1s. 4d. to 1s. 6d. from 4th December, It will be maintained at this figure until stocks have been reduced to more normal proportions. The increase will last well over the Christmas and New Year period. The allowance of meat for manufacture into sausages, pies, etc., will also be increased from the same date.

Mr. Jones

Is my right hon. Friend aware that this will give much pleasure to everyone, and that it is an answer to some of those stupid statements made by prominent politicians in the country? Will my right hon. Friend endeavour to keep the increased ration as long as ever possible?

Mr. Strachey

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Keeling

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether there is any hope of any improvement in the quality of Argentine beef?

Mr. Strachey

Well, Sir, I do not know whether the hon. Member has in mind going over from frozen to chilled. I am afraid there is no prospect of that.

Mr. Keeling

No. I meant the quality of the beasts.

Lieut-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore

With reference to the right hon. Gentleman's first reply, could he be more precise, and give us the exact date of the General Election?

Mr. Marlowe

Can the right hon. Gentleman inform the House whether the cost of this increased ration has been taken into account in reference to the right hon. Gentleman's Election expenses?