HC Deb 12 November 1952 vol 507 cc940-1
37. Mr. Lewis

asked the Minister of Food the percentage of bacon ration not being taken up for the current rationing period ending on 4th November.

The Minister of Food (Major Lloyd George)

For the four weeks ended 1st November, since unrationed cooked gammon became available, deliveries of ration bacon to the trade are estimated to have averaged about 9 per cent. less than full entitlement.

Mr. Lewis

Does not that confirm the statement that we have been making from this side of the House, that because of the attitude adopted by the Minister of Food and his Department poorer people are not able now to take up their rations, and that those who have got more money are able to get more than their rations, and will the Minister reconsider the whole question of the basic rations, particularly of bacon?

Major Lloyd George

I regret I cannot agree that the answer confirms some of the very misleading statements the hon. Gentleman has made from time to time. The fact of the matter is that in the week following the period he asked about there was a sharp increase in the uptake of bacon. Another thing that the hon. Gentleman ought to know is this, that whilst the fall in the amount of bacon consumed is 900 tons the increase in gammon is 2,000 tons, and if the hon. Gentleman would like another figure, the amount of bacon consumed in the same period this year as compared with last was half as much again.

Mr. Lewis

The Minister has entirely confirmed my statement. Is he aware of the fact that the gammon rashers he is speaking of are the more expensive ones? He confirms that it is those who have got more money who are taking up more than their fair rations, and so I am very pleased to hear from him that he confirms the fact that the rich are getting more than their share.

Major Lloyd George

Again the hon. Gentleman has made a statement to which I must reply. He talks about expensive gammon rashers, but they are 4s. per 1b. cheaper than under his Government.

Mrs. Braddock

Has the Minister any method at all of ascertaining whether people are taking up their full rations or not, because the evidence in the country is that the poorer people are unable to take up their rations? I should like to know what machinery the Minister has for ascertaining whether the whole of their rations are taken by the ordinary working class people.

Major Lloyd George

The figures I have given are obtained by methods which have been used for a considerable time by the previous Government as well as this one. They are the methods always used.

Mr. Beswick

But what are the total figures?

Major Lloyd George

These are the only figures that can be used. The method is to take a cross-section. I admit it is but a cross-section, but it gives a clear picture of what the position is. That is as near as we can get.

Several Hon. Members


Mr. Speaker

Order. Mr. Maclean. Let us get on to bananas.

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