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Gift Parcels From America

Volume 387: debated on Wednesday 17 March 1943

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asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he is aware that a good many well-to-do individuals are receiving regular or occasional parcels of food and small luxuries from the United States of America or Canada; and, seeing that these people are already amply fed, will he stop this unnecessary burden on shipping space?

The receipt by individuals in this country of parcels of food sent by relatives and friends in the U.S.A., the Dominions and other parts of the Empire is not confined to any particular section of the population. This matter is governed by regulations to secure that such gifts are unsolicited, infrequent and small. They may only be sent by mail and cannot to any significant extent occupy space which could be used for other cargo. Liberty to send occasional gifts to friends and relatives in this country is much valued, especially in the Dominions, and complete prohibition would not seem desirable.

Why should we burden shipping even to this small extent with unnecessary luxuries? Is it not the case that some people do receive parcels of cheese and luxuries quite regularly, and that the difficulty of providing shipping is continually put forward as a reason why refugees cannot be rescued and why food cannot be sent abroad to starving children?