HC Deb 11 February 1953 vol 511 cc407-9
29. Mr. Dodds

asked the Minister of Food if he is aware that the Coronation bonus of 1 lb. of sugar and ¼ lb. of margarine is generally considered inadequate for the occasion; and if he will consider increasing the amounts, and giving a bonus of other foods in addition.

57. Mr. Shurmer

asked the Minister of Food if he is aware that the Coronation bonus of I lb. of sugar and ¼ lb. of margarine is quite inadequate for such an occasion; and if he will reconsider his decision and increase the amount, and also add a bonus of other foods in addition.

Major Lloyd George

No, Sir.

Mr. Dodds

Is the Minister aware that this miserable bonus has made housewives very angry and has even galvanized prominent members of the Housewives' League to say some unkind things about him? In view of the blistering remarks by countless numbers of women, will the right hon. and gallant Gentleman reconsider the ox roasting ceremonies and substitute the more appropriate ceremony of roasting the Minister and the Parliamentary Secretary?

Major Lloyd George

As I would have to issue the licence, it is very unlikely that that would happen. I do not agree with the hon. Member at all. If he will take the trouble to read the full statement on the question of the bonus of sugar and cooking fat, which I may say has not been improved upon by the previous Administration in any bonus whatever, he will see that what he forgets and, I assume, some of his hon. Friends forget, is that for street parties during that period people will be allowed the same rations as catering establishments and that includes the whole range of rationed commodities.

Mr. Shurmer

Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that although he is giving the concession to street parties many thousands of people will not be taking part in street parties. Is he aware that this ¼ lb. of margarine and 1 lb. of sugar has become a complete joke up and down the country?

Major Lloyd George

It depends, of course, on what side the hon. Member happens to be as to whether it is a good joke or not. Apart altogether from the question of street parties, the position of the housewife today is so much better as she is better able to entertain. She gets her 1 lb. of sugar, extra margarine and cooked ham in plentiful supply—[An HON. MEMBER: "If she can buy it."]— the better ration of meat, more bacon, and I do not have to give a bonus on tea or sweets this year.

37. Mrs. Mann

asked the Minister of Food what food bonuses will be available to housewives during the Coronation period.

Major Lloyd George

I would refer the hon. Member to the statement made to the House on this subject on 27th January.

Mrs. Mann

May I add to that statement regarding the availability of food which will be readily available to all in this country, that I understand these concessions consist mainly of toffee apples, lollipops and popcorn?

Major Lloyd George

That is a very characteristic mis-statement by the hon. Lady. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] She knows perfectly well that those are sidelines, but the real thing is the amount of basic foods which are available, and unrationed foods are available in bigger supplies than they have been for a very long time.

Mrs. Mann

Does the right hon. and gallant Gentleman not think that the distribution of a ¼ lb. of margarine as a Coronation feast to the people of Britain is its own reflection on the operations of the Ministry of Food in Britain?

Major Lloyd George

It is not so very long since the hon. Lady, sitting on these benches, thought a ¼ lb. of margarine and 1 lb. of sugar invaluable.

Mr. H. Morrison

Why does the right hon. and gallant Gentleman wish to accuse my hon. Friend of being "characteristically inaccurate" and propagandist? Is it not well known that when the right hon. and gallant Gentleman answers Parliamentary Questions, he is uniformly acting as a propagandist, and that the propaganda comes in front of facts. If it is a matter of the effectiveness of propagandists, I would back my hon. Friend against the Minister.

Major Lloyd George

I think the right hon. Gentleman had better spare a little time to go through the Order Paper and then he will come to the conclusion from where the propaganda was first coming. Most of the Questions I get from that side of the House are pure propaganda. The hon. Lady was trying to make out that the only contribution to a Coronation feast was lollipops, toffee apples and so on, which is quite untrue.