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Evw Camps (Meat Ration)

Volume 464: debated on Wednesday 4 May 1949

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asked the Minister of Food why anyone living in a camp for European voluntary workers automatically receives a meat ration worth 2s. 9d. a week.

The hon. Member is under a misapprehension. The allowances of meat for European Volunteer Workers, and for British workers, who live in camps or hostels are exactly the same. There is no differentiation whatever in favour of the foreign worker. The allowances to both depend on the type of work which they do and the number of meals they take there. For instance, those who have canteens at their work get only the equivalent of the domestic ration.

Does not the right hon. Gentleman realise—while I agree that the figure may be 2s. 6d. rather than 2s. 9d.—that many of these foreign workers, who in fact go sick a great deal more frequently than British workers, are entitled to the full meat ration; and does not he regard that as grossly unfair to the agricultural worker living at home?

I cannot agree to differentiation between the categories of workers whether they are European or British. Whether the hon. Gentleman thinks that the meat ration for all workers, whether British or foreign—and they are about half and half—in these camps should be cut down is another matter.

Does not the right hon. Gentleman realise that there are many of the E.V.W. who are in fact "scrim-shanking" and yet getting the full meat ration?

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the complaint is not of differentiation between European and British workers, but the difference between the ration given to people living in hostels and that given to British workers who live at home on half that ration?

That is an entirely different question. I should be very reluctant to cut down the rations for heavy workers, which is what is really involved, whether they live in camps or not. That question can be examined so long as it is free from the suggestion of differentiation in favour of foreign workers.