Skip to main content


Volume 440: debated on Monday 21 July 1947

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.


asked the Minister of Food if he is aware that the allocation of various non-rationed foods to Cheltenham is based on a population of 62,000, whereas in the opinion of the Borough Food Committee the figure should be 75,000; if regard is had to the fact that the town is a popular inland health resort with a large number of unlicensed boarding establishments, has many residential schools and colleges and is a shopping centre for a big area of the county of Gloucester; and if he will take steps to bring supplies into a proper relationship to the population the town is expected to serve.

Population figures prepared by the Registrar-General are used by my Department when adjusting allocations of manufacturing meat and fats for fish frying which are based on prewar trade. They are also supplied to primary distributors of unrationed foods which we do not allocate, to help them to do the same. The latest figure for the Metropolitan Borough of Cheltenham is 62,000. If the hon. Member has evidence that it is too low, I shall be glad to look into it.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that I sent him a report of the meeting of the local food committee, which is a very responsible body, in which they accepted the figure of 75,000? In view of the discrepancy between his figure and that, will he not hold an inquiry, or make representations to the local food committee to try to get the matter adjusted?

Yes, certainly. I will listen to any evidence on the subject, but the Registrar-General's figures of population are, I think, the proper figures.

But for what year? The figure has changed very much for a town like Cheltenham since the war.


asked the Minister of Food if he is aware that the percentage increase in sales of food and perishables in May, 1947, compared with May, 1946, is only 4.8 per cent. in the London suburban area as compared with an increase of 6.5 per cent. for the whole of Great Britain, and 12.0 per cent for Central London and the West End; and if he is satisfied that the London suburban area is receiving its share of increased supplies.

Yes, Sir. I know of these figures of retail sales collected by the Bank of England. They relate only to money values and cover alcoholic drinks, tobacco and also restaurant meals, and are not a reliable indication of the amount of food reaching consumers in each area. I am satisfied that my Department is doing its utmost to ensure that food supplies are fairly distributed.

Can my right hon. Friend explain the great difference between the 4.8 per cent. increase in the London suburban area and 12.0 per cent. in central London and the West End? There seems to be a great discrepancy between those figures; could he explain what it is?

Not fully, I am afraid, without trespassing on the time of the House, but it is important to realise that these are in money values and, therefore, the West End figures are disproportionately high because of the large hotels, the expensive restaurants, and the like which are in that area.