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Chocolates And Sweets

Volume 465: debated on Monday 23 May 1949

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asked the Minister of Food whether he will take action to ensure that manufacturers make a fair allocation of sweets to small shopkeepers.

I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Teeling) on 16th May. I shall not interfere with the manufacturers' arrangements until there is a clear case for doing so, but I will willingly look into any case my hon. Friend may have in mind where a small shopkeeper has been left without supplies for an unduly long time.

Is my right hon. Friend aware of the widespread dissatisfaction that has been expressed by small shopkeepers all over the country at what they consider to be unfair discrimination by manufacturers in favour of large retailers? Will my right hon. Friend at least ask the manufacturers to exercise a little more discrimination in favour of the small shopkeepers.

We must see what representations we get from the various trade associations on the matter. We will certainly pay attention to them when we receive them.

Will not the Minister appreciate that consumption has been misjudged and that the matter needs complete reconsideration to find out how the problem can be solved?

In view of the reports he must have been receiving from all over the country, is not the Minister fully satisfied that he was foolish to accede to the requests of hon. Members opposite and take off the ration altogether?

Is not the Minister aware that every Member of Parliament must be getting complaints, especially those from working-class districts, that people who could get sweets when they were on the ration are getting no sweets at all at the moment?


asked the Minister of Food whether he will give details of his release of 1,000 tons of sugar for the manufacture of sweets; and whether he is releasing a corresponding quantity of fats for this purpose.


asked the Minister of Food if in view of the continued shortage of sweets and chocolates, he will either further increase the allocations to manufacturers or reintroduce rationing as soon as possible.

We have now released sufficient sugar, fats, and other ingredients to enable the manufacturers to put an additional 9,000 tons of sweets on the market. As to the suggestion of my hon. Friend that we should at once reintroduce rationing, I should like to say this. In my opinion it would be unfair to consider this step until the new method of free distribution has had at least some months of trial. After all sweets are not by any means a staple food; that was, of course, why we chose them for de-rationing, which had been so strongly pressed upon us in respect not only of sweets but of some staple foods. On the other hand, I agree that if the supply and demand for sweets and chocolate did not by, say, the autumn come into approximate balance both the trade and the public might well prefer the reintroduction of rationing to the indefinite continuance of acute shop shortages.

Arising out of that reply, did not the Minister of Food anticipate that there would be an increased demand when sweets were de-rationed, and if so, why did he not make this release much earlier?

Does the hon. Gentleman think that we made no increased release of ingredients? Of course we made an enormously greater release of ingredients than this some months before de-rationing.

Will my right hon. Friend make clear what he meant by saying that he was putting 9,000 tons on the market? Within what period of time?

We have just released the ingredients, and I cannot tell the right hon. and gallant Gentleman, without notice, exactly how long it takes between that and the coming of the sweets into the shops, but it will be a matter of a few weeks.

The right hon. Gentleman has released the ingredients for the whole 9,000 tons now?

Surely this is negligible? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the minimum requirement is 7 oz. per person per week?