HC Deb 02 December 1953 vol 521 cc1149-50
34. Mr. Nabarro

asked the Minister of Food how egg consumption for the eight months since de-rationing compares with the corresponding periods of 1951 and 1950; whether de-rationing has caused more or less eggs to go through the packing stations; and how the general pattern of egg distribution in present circumstances compares with the pattern under rationing arrangements prior to 26th March, 1953, when large numbers of home-produced eggs were diverted from packing station channels.

Major Lloyd George

The estimated total egg consumption for the eight months since de-rationing is about 12 per cent. lower than the total consumption for the corresponding period for 1950, but slightly higher than in 1951, and noticeably higher than in 1952. The number of eggs passing through the packing stations shows a slight increase over the corresponding period last year. Since de-rationing, the general pattern of distribution has changed to bring more eggs through packing station channels into the shops in urban areas, whilst country-dwellers are more dependent on supplies bought direct from producers.

Mr. Nabarro

Is not the real effect of the policy of my right hon. and gallant Friend that he has now beaten the black market and brought into the shops bigger supplies of eggs, and, what is most important of all, fresher supplies of eggs?

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Is it not a fact that another result of that policy has been that we require another £5 million to cover the changed circumstances caused by the present system of egg distribution?

Major Lloyd George

That is perfectly true, but, of course, if eggs had gone up to 10d., as the hon. and gallant Member suggested, we should not want any money at all.

Mr. G. Jeger

Is it not a fact that the Minister's policy is to legalise the black market—[Hon. Members: "No."]—and to make it possible for those with no conscience and plenty of money to buy all the supplies they wish at the expense of those in poorer circumstances?

Major Lloyd George

That is not in the least in accordance with the facts, and the hon. Gentleman knows it perfectly well.

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