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Volume 411: debated on Wednesday 13 June 1945

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asked the Minister of Food if he is aware of the shortage of oatmeal in various parts of Scotland; and what steps he has taken to prevent supplies leaving the country and to ensure larger production in the future.

Arrangements have been made to meet any temporary shortage of oatmeal by allocating supplies from Ministry stocks of imported oat products. Supplies are not being exported other than for the use of our Forces. The capacity of the industry is sufficient to meet requirements.

Will the Minister explain this rather surprising shortage? Why did it happen?

There was a pretty bad oat crop last year. We have not been able to make as much of this oatmeal as normally because of this shortage. We took steps to get oat products from Canada to make up the required amount, and we are now putting them on the market.

When oatmeal is exported from Scotland to England, and other foreign countries, will the Minister try to make sure that proper instructions are sent with it in order to see that it is properly cooked? In view of the shortage of supplies will the Minister try to see that English people do not add sugar to their porridge?

I quite agree, in reply to the latter part of that question, that sugar does spoil it. But I do not think we had better draw a line between Scotland and England as to exporting because Scotland would come off very much the worse if that line were drawn.

Will the Minister take care that where there has been a temporary shortage of what I am told is called porridge oats, which forms a large part of infant dietary, provision is made to remedy that situation?

If the hon. Member has any information as to any place where there is this particular shortage, I will try to see that it is overcome.