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Families, Germany (Rations)

Volume 437: debated on Wednesday 14 May 1947

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asked the Minister of Defence what are the food rations per head supplied weekly to the wives and children of British Services personnel at present resident in Germany; whether these rations comprise the only source of food available to the recipients; or by what other means the rations can be augmented.

The wives of Service personnel in B.A.O.R. and their children over the age of 12 receive the same food ration as A.T.S. personnel serving in this theatre. I am sending the details to my hon. Friend. Children aged 5–12 receive five-sevenths of that ration and children up to 5 receive special rations, including an appropriate amount of tinned milk, on a scale slightly more than 2,000 calories a day. Additional tinned milk may also be purchased from N.A.A.F.I. for expectant and nursing mothers and for children aged 5–12. Children attending school receive the equivalent of one-third pint of milk daily free of charge. The provision of mid-day meals for school children is now beginning. No purchases of food from German sources are allowed, but a few items such as sauces, condiments and special baby and health foods are available for purchase in N.A.A.F.I. shops.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that Services and civilian personnel are sending food parcels to this country, to the extent, in some cases, of 2 lb. of butter in one parcel? In view of the food situation existing in Germany, does he not think that this practice is deplorable, and will he take steps to see that the sending of food parcels to this country from Germany is prohibited?

I should have thought that it would not have been possible, at any rate, for the kind of quantity mentioned by my hon. Friend, to be sent out of savings in the rations.

I have no direct evidence of a black market. I know that there are some arrangements for troops in Germany to send gift parcels from Denmark, but I will look into the matter especially to see what steps can be taken to curb it. It is already a direct offence for anyone contracted with British troops to engage in the black market, and, in cases of exposure, they would be dealt with.

Will my right hon. Friend not agree that these people should be practising self-denial in view of the extremely serious circumstances by which they are surrounded?