HC Deb 19 February 1951 vol 484 cc879-80
41. Mr. De la Bère

asked the Minister of Food whether, with a view to offsetting the small meat ration, he will now consider increasing the sugar ration by eight ounces per person per week.

Mr. Webb

The sugar ration has recently been increased from 8 oz. to 10 oz. a week as from 1st January. In addition there will be some sugar bonuses, details of which are being given today in reply to a written Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Coatbridge and Airdrie (Mrs. Mann). These improvements are as much as we can make this year and, I think, will be generally appreciated as an adequate contribution, in the light of our general supply problems, to the food supplies of the nation.

Mr. De la Bere

May we have the detailed part of the right hon. Gentleman's answer to his hon. Friend the Member for Coatbridge and Airdrie (Mrs. Mann)?

Mr. Webb

It is not my fault. If an hon. Member opposite had been present to put a Question which he had addressed to me, the figures would have been given earlier. The details were in my reply to a previous Question. There will be six bonuses this year in addition to the increased ration.

Mr. R. A. Butler

Could the right hon. Gentleman oblige the House by giving us the figures which may, by mischance, not have been given earlier? There is no guarantee that the hon. Member may not have been delayed by some trains having been taken off.

Mr. Webb

I have just given the figure; it is six bonuses this year, beginning in April, [HON. MEMBERS: "How much?"] The usual bonus of one pound per month.

Mr. Keeling

Would the right hon. Gentleman consider allowing people who are willing to forgo their sweet ration to buy sugar instead?

Mr. De la Bère

Is it not really possible to do more in the case of this vital necessity? If sugar is not in world short supply surely the Government can do something practical today?

Mr. Webb

We cannot do more this year. I should have thought that any reasonable person, taking account of our dollar difficulties, would have thought that this was not, on the whole, an unacceptable addition to our food supply.

Mr. Nabarro

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the production of sugar beet last year reached a record level? Why should that not have the effect of increasing the sugar ration?

Mr. Webb

I am well aware of that fact, and we are all delighted about it. It is one of the factors that have enabled us to make these increases.

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