asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies, in view of food shortages in the West Indies, to what extent food rationing has been introduced; and what further plans are in hand for the equitable distribution of food in these Colonies?
Although shortages of particular foodstuffs will no doubt continue to occur in the West Indies, as elsewhere, the general food supply position is considerably better than it was some months ago, and efforts are continually being made to improve both the organisation of imports and the methods of local distribution and to increase local food production. Hitherto food rationing has not been introduced to any large extent, as more use has been made of the method of price control to ensure equitable distribution. I will send my hon. Friend a summary of what has been done on these lines.
Is the Minister aware that there is very great perturbation in most of the islands on account of the present situation and that the local Press emphasises the necessity of rationing?
Yes, Sir, the situation has been very difficult, and although, as I say, it has improved, it still gives rise to anxiety, but the hon. Member will realise the difficulty of applying our methods of rationing to countries where the administrative machine is perhaps not so complicated as it is here.