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Elderly People (Meals)

Volume 465: debated on Monday 23 May 1949

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asked the Minister of Food if he has now had an opportunity of examining the results of the experiment for which he granted a licence to Jarrow to enable old people to be provided with a prepared uncooked meal of meat, vegetables and dessert; and whether he is now prepared to issue similar licences to other local authorities.

When the Jarrow Corporation proposed this most interesting experiment to my Department we agreed with them to run it for a trial period of six months. It was accordingly started on 25th April last. I think I ought to wait at any rate till a rather longer portion of the trial period has elapsed before expressing an opinion on it.

In view of the fact that old people find it extremely difficult to stand in queues waiting for unrationed food, will the Minister ask the council to give some account of the results soon, so that he will be able to exercise his rights elsewhere in a similar direction?

Yes, Sir, but we ought to wait rather longer than three weeks out of the six months' period.

If this experiment is successful, will the Minister make a general appeal to voluntary organisations in the country to help in the distribution of this food?

This is more a case for the initiative for such an appeal coming from the local authorities. What we would do is to give the necessary licences to the local authorities.

Will the Minister continue to encourage the excellent meals-on-wheels service now being provided by voluntary organisations in association with local authorities?

I am grateful to my hon. and gallant Friend for mentioning it. I do not think I ought to show any partiality or preference between the forms of doing this very meritorious service.

Does the last answer but one that the Minister has given mean that he would not issue licences to voluntary organisations, even if they were inclined to be most suitable for the distribution of such meals?