asked the Minister of Food what is the quantity of meat per month by which consumption will be reduced as the result of his proposed reduction of the domestic meat ration by twopence a week.
About 19,000 tons per calendar month.
When will the Parliamentary Secretary's right hon. Friend realise that there is no world meat shortage, but that this is only due to State trading and bulk purchase?
asked the Minister of Food whether he will now give an assurance that the carcase and canned meat rations will be maintained at not less than their present level during the next four months.
No, Sir. I am never prepared to speculate on the future level of the meat ration, which must depend upon the rate at which home produced and imported supplies become available.
Is the right hon. Lady aware that there are rumours current in the country that the canned meat ration will disappear in the next few months? Will she take this opportunity of dispelling those rumours?
I am not aware of those rumours, but I can assure the hon. Member that it would be quite wrong at this moment to make a statement which might he entirely unfounded.
Bearing in mind that this Question relates to a period up to four months ahead, and as the right hon. Lady says that she refuses to speculate on what will happen in that period, will she say how many months ahead represent definite planning and not speculation in the mind of the Government?
During those four months many shipments of meat may come in, but we cannot anticipate that.