§ Mr. Brooke
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he can give figures showing, on a comparable basis, the proportions of eligible children for whom parents or guardians were obtaining cod liver oil and fruit juices in the period before April when these were made available to them by the Ministry free of charge; and the present proportions now that they are available for a small payment?1379W
§ Mr. Mabane
I regret that it is not possible to supply comparable figures of the numbers of children obtaining cod liver oil and fruit juices during the periods prior and subsequent to 1st April, 1942, as the ages of entitlement have varied to some extent during these periods. Also, the products are still distributed free of charge to children where the weekly incomes of the parents or guardians do not exceed certain limits. From the commencement of the scheme in December, 1941, and until 1st February, 1942, only children under two years of age were entitled to cod liver oil. From 1st February to 31st. March all children holding R.B.2 ration books (i.e., children under six years) were entitled to supplies. During the period December to 31st March all children up to two years were allowed fruit juices free of charge. Payment for the products was introduced on 1st April, 1942, and supplies of cod liver oil were then restricted to children under five years of age. From 1st April to 6th July only children under two years were entitled to fruit juices, but as from the latter date the age of entitlement was raised to three years. The figures given below, although they cannot be used for purposes of comparison in view of the discrepancy in the ages of entitlement, give a picture of the take-up during the periods before and after payment was introduced:
- Average weekly take-up of cod liver oil during four weeks in March, 1942–24.1 per cent. of children eligible.
- Average weekly take-up of fruit juices during four weeks in March, 1942–38.8 per cent. of children eligible.
- Average weekly take-up of cod liver oil during four weeks in June, 1942–12.8 per cent. of children eligible.
- Average weekly take-up of fruit juices during four weeks in June, 1942–33.9 per cent. of children eligible.