HC Deb 23 July 1952 vol 504 cc506-7
4. Mr. Nabarro

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence to what extent home-grown fruit and British-manufactured preserves form part of the diet of officers and other ranks of Her Majesty's Forces.

Mr. Birch

Home-grown fruit and preserves are included, to the greatest possible extent, in Service diets. Arrangements for the purchase of these commodities are the responsibility of the respective Service Departments.

Mr. Nabarro

Will my hon. Friend bear in mind two exceptional circumstances? Will he instruct the Service Departments to take advantage of the large English fruit crop this year with a view to forward contracts and buying; and, secondly, will he give an assurance that no fruit of foreign origin will be bought until the English surplus fruit is cleared?

Mr. Birch

I am aware that there is a big fruit crop in this country this year. It is the practice of Service Departments to give a preference to home-grown fruit. On the other hand, my hon. Friend will realise that when units are stationed abroad it is not always possible to buy English fruit. They may have to exercise local purchase.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that more milk would also be useful to improve the diet of the officers and men in the Army? Will he keep in mind the supply of milk before the supply of these preserves and fruit?

Mr. Simmons

Can the Minister say whether Tom Tickler's plum and apple, so beloved of the 1914–18 men, is still supplied to the other ranks while blackcurrant jam goes to the officers?

Mr. Birch

Not without notice.