HC Deb 08 July 1974 vol 876 cc941-2
22. Mr. Patrick McNair-Wilson

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if she will now introduce subsidies to cover those foodstuffs essential for the diet of diabetics.

Mr. Maclennan

I am very sympathetic with diabetics who have to face many practical problems in their day-to-day lives. However, the special diets prescribed by the medical profession normally include some or all of the subsidised foods. Diabetics are therefore already benefiting from the Government's measures, and I do not think it would be appropriate to introduce new subsidies specifically to meet their requirements.

Mr. McNair-Wilson

Does not the Minister recognise that a diabetic is limited in choice and in his range of products and cannot shop around? Does he appreciate that last week the price of a 7-oz. pot of marmalade increased by a whole penny? If we are to protect this special group, does he not agree that it will be necessary to look again at this question and not dismiss the problems of diabetics since they are a group of people who have had to bear the full brunt of inflation without any protection?

Mr. Maclennan

I am aware that diabetic preparations are more expensive than comparable foods made for general use. This is inevitable in a small, specialist market. I have drawn the Price Commission's attention to a number of specific complaints in this sector. I am advised that diabetics do not necessarily have to rely on products specially prepared for them but can have an ordinary though strictly regulated diet.