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Dominion Food Gifts

Volume 440: debated on Monday 21 July 1947

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asked the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what extra quantities of food have been brought to the United Kingdom from Canada, Australia and New Zealand through voluntary individual surrenders of food coupons for the benefit of this country.

I have been asked to reply. As the answer is rather long, and contains a number of figures, I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Has the right hon. and learned Gentleman noticed the cables in "The Times" to the effect that people in the Dominions are feeling aggrieved that they have drawn in their belts without any apparent advantage to ours, and will he arrange for any figures he has to be published in the Dominions, both in the Press and through the B.B.C., if possible?

Following is the answer:

Reference has been made in this matter by telegram to the Governments of Australia, New Zealand and Canada. The Australian Government have stated that it is not possible to relate exactly over a period what increased shipments have been made as a result of voluntary surrendering of food coupons; but that, as the only markets for the disposal of meat and butter are domestic consumption in Australia against coupons and shipments to the United Kingdom Ministry of Food, it is obvious that any saving made in domestic consumption by the surrender of coupons will, to that extent, increase the supply of meat and butter available for shipment to the United Kingdom. This is also the position in the case of New Zealand. The following figures show the approximate amounts represented by the voluntary surrendering of coupons:

  • Australia (from May, 1947)—
  • Meat—3 million lb.
  • Butter—54,000 lb.
  • New Zealand (from April, 1946)—
  • Meat—4¾ million lb.
  • Butter—196,000 lb.

In the case of Canada, meat is the only food affected, as Canada did not export other rationed foods to the United Kingdom. During the period of meat rationing in Canada (September, 1945, to March, 1947) the amount of meat exported to the United Kingdom, as a result of the surrender of coupons, was, approximately, 3 million lb.