HC Deb 15 November 1954 vol 533 cc16-9
33. Mr. Leather

asked the Minister of Food the nutritional value of the food shown in the food survey of his Department to be consumed by old-age pensioners; and how this compares with recent years.

Dr. Hill

As the reply contains a number of figures, I will, with permission, circulate a statement in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Leather

When these figures are produced, will they show that the individual constituents of the diet eaten by old-age pensioners are better or worse than in 1951?

Dr. Hill

For the last full year for which figures are available—1953—in the case of every nutrient except one, in respect of calorific values, proteins, fats and all the rest—except one—consumption was higher in 1953 than in 1951.

Mr. Shurmer

Is the hon. Member aware that figures will not fill the bellies of the old-age pensioners who are going short of food today?

Dr. Hill

These figures are derived from the National Food Survey used by the party opposite.

Mr. Bottomley

In view of the fact that the Economic Survey says that for the country as a whole the food values are down for last year, can the Minister explain how they are up in the case of old-age pensioners?

Dr. Hill

This is a statistical survey used by both Governments, and hon.

(per head per day)
1951 (a) 1952 1953 1954 (c) (half year)
Energy value Calories 2,264 2,341 2,474 2,486
Protein g. 71 73 76 75
Fat g. 90 90 99 101
Calcium mg. 994 988 1,024 1,042
Iron mg. 11.2 12.0 12.4 12.3
Vitamin A i.u. 2,923 3,074 3,462 3,415
Vitamin B1 (b) mg. 1.10 1.20 1.26 1.23
Riboflavin mg. 1.49 1.56 1.61 1.59
Nicotinic acid mg. 11.5 12.2 12.8 12.6
Vitamin C (b) (d) mg. 44 44 44 34
Vitamin D i.u. 124 128 128 118
(a) Excluding two months, March and June, for which information is not available.
(b) Allowances have been made for cooking losses according to Medical Research Council War Memorandum No. 14.
(c) Provisional estimates only for the first two quarters.
(d) The intake of this nutrient varies seasonally.
34. Mr. Carr

asked the Minister of Food what information is available regarding the amount of food being consumed by old-age pensioners at the present time; and how this compares with the corresponding amount in 1951.

35. Mr. Hurd

asked the Minister of Food what results are shown by his Department's food consumption survey as to the diet of old-age pensioners as compared with recent years and with other sections of the community.

Dr. Hill

As the reply contains a number of figures, I will, with permission circulate a statement in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Chapman

Do the figures relate only to calorific and protein value, or do they show, as we know to be a fact, that

Members opposite should not begin to question its statistical validity just because it does not suit them.

Mr. Carr

Can my hon. Friend assure us that this survey takes into account a proper cross-section of the pensioners and that therefore the results are reliable?

Dr. Hill

Yes. Sir.

Following are the figures: Details of the nutritive value of old-age pensioners' diets are given below for the years 1951–53. A full analysis is not available for 1954, but provisional findings for the first half-year are included.

old-age pensioners may be eating as much meat but it is of much poorer quality, and that they are cutting down on bacon and changing to cheap foods? Is it sufficient to show the figures in protein and calorific value? What about the quality of the food?

Dr. Hill

No, Sir, it is not sufficient. These figures show that for cheese, eggs, meat, sugar and tea there was an increase in 1953 compared with 1951.

Mr. Bottomley

Without wishing to decry the figures contained in the Government's statistical survey, which we accept as well as do other hon. Members, may I ask whether it is not a fact that the Economic Survey for 1953 shows that, in the case of fats, proteins and calories for the whole of the country, the consumption was lower? Can the Minister explain why, in the case of old-age pensioners, it is higher?

Dr. Hill

These figures, obtained by the statistical survey method—which the right hon. Gentleman does not condemn—show unanswerably that in the case of those commodities the consumption by old-age pensioners was higher.

Captain Pilkington

Are these answers likely to appear in the "Daily Herald" tomorrow?

(oz. per head per week unless otherwise stated)
—— Old-Age Pensioner Households All Households
1951 (a) 1952 1953 1954(b) (half-year) 1951(a) 1952 1953 1954(b) (half-year)
Milk, including processed (pt.or eq. pt.) 4.9 4.8 5.0 4.8 5.2 5.1 5.1 5.1
Cheese, including un-rationed 2.7 2.0 2.6 3.0 2.8 2.2 2.5 3.0
Eggs (number) 2.3 2.4 3.2 3.9 2.8 3.0 4.0 4.6
Butter 4.0 2.9 3.7 3.9 3.9 2.8 3.6 3.8
Margarine 3.8 4.4 4.4 4.6 4.1 4.4 4.3 4.8
Meat (including bacon and unrationed meat) 25.7 27.8 31.5 31.4 26.7 29.0 32.3 33.5
Sugar 11.1 10.8 13.8 16.5 11.4 11.0 13.6 16.2
Tea 2.8 3.0 3.5 3.5 2.0 2.2 2.6 2.8
(a) Excluding two months, March and June, for which information is not available.
(b) Provisional estimates only for the first two quarters.