§ 2. Miss Burton
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the increase since 1st April, 1952, per person per week, in the cost of rationed foods to the latest convenient date.
§ Mr. R. A. Butler
For all rationed and subsidised foods, the latest estimate is slightly below the estimate of ls. 6d. which I gave in my Budget statement. This includes the increase in the prices of bread and flour made on 16th March, 1952.
§ Miss Burton
Is the Chancellor aware that many of us are wondering if it is the intention of the Government to make 4 these increases as high as possible so that people cannot take up their ration? [HON. MEMBERS: "0h."] It 1S no use hon. Members opposite groaning. Does the Chancellor know that gammon bacon is being de-rationed because people cannot afford to buy their share? Is the Tory policy better bacon for the well-off and the poorer quality for the less well-off?
§ Mr. Butler
No, Sir. As the hon. Lady will see from an answer which is to be given later, there has been a much smaller gap between the types of food bought by different sections of the population, and I welcome that. With regard to detailed points about rations, I would refer the hon. Lady to my right hon. and gallant Friend the Minister of Food.
§ Mr. Butler
I would not accept that this experiment has been disastrous. I would accept that a great deal of public money has been saved and that, considering the sacrifice involved, the public have accepted this in a remarkably good spirit.
§ Mr. Osborne
Would the Chancellor of the Exchequer confirm the fact that the sharpest rise in the cost of living occurred immediately after the £ was devalued by Sir Stafford Cripps in 1949?