asked the Minister of Food what is the composition and the function of the gift food branch of his Department; and on what principles of allocation the branch operates.
The Overseas Gifts (Food) Allocation Centre of my Department was formed early in 1946, by agreement with the Dominions and Colonies concerned, to distribute their gifts of food sent to this country in bulk. A staff of 4o is employed. The gifts are sent to sick people in hospitals and sanatoria; to old people and children, cripples and blind persons in charitable institutions; to workers' rehabilitation centres and to the aged and needy. The Gift Centre allocates 3o per cent. of the food directly to some 1,900 hospitals and 2,000 charitable institutions on the basis of bed accommodation. The remaining 70 per cent. is sent to 1,300 local authorities throughout the country for distribution to needy people in their own areas. To date twelve distributions have been made throughout the United Kingdom involving the distribution of 656,360 cases of 56 lbs. each. Every recipient, whether local authority, hospital or charitable institution, is advised of the donor or donating fund so that the identity of the gift is not lost, and many thousands of grateful letters have reached the Dominions and Colonies.