asked the Minister of Food if he is aware that large stocks of orange juice and cod liver oil are going bad in Cheltenham; and will he agree to the request of the local food committee that these infant welfare foods should be sold at the food office for cash instead of by the present system of postage stamps.
The answer to both parts of the hon. Member's Question is "No, Sir."
Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that under the present arrangements harassed and tired mothers are expected to wait in two queues, one at the post office and one at the food office, and that if he will adopt the suggestion in the Question, more children will benefit from these infant welfare foods?
I do not know anything about the post offices, but there are not normally queues in any of these welfare food sections of the food offices. The reason for payment being made in stamps is to save a vast accounting procedure. If we had to have accounting officers in the 12,000 distribution centres it would mean a tremendous increase in staff. Moreover, as soon as dried milk came under the same system the demand, in fact, increased.
Will the right hon. and gallant Gentleman have another look at this matter to see if he can find another way in which the waste of these infant welfare foods can be obviated?
There is no waste. In Cheltenham there is only five weeks' supply of orange juice and rather more of cod liver oil. Both keep as long as that.