asked the Minister of Food on which rationed foods and upon what quantity of each, he bases his estimate that the cost of weekly rations per person will not be increased by more than 8½d. during 1951.
The estimate was based on the latest available information about price trends and the supplies available. But to disclose details of this calculation might prejudice my Department's commercial transactions. In view of the increases in retail food prices which will be necessary to offset rising procurement costs, I felt it my duty to take the first available opportunity of informing the housewife about the likely effect on her weekly expenditure.
Does the Minister agree that if ration increases are made his calculation then becomes quite worthless?
The calculation was based on our assumption of possible increases in supplies, and, in some cases, of possible decreases. On that assumption I arrived at that figure, and on that I stand.
asked the Minister of Food what nourishing food he will make available to compensate for the shortage of meat and cheese.
The rations of those basic foods which are controlled by my Department will be increased whenever available supplies permit.
Does the Minister contend that the present ration is entirely satisfactory?
I do not suppose that any Minister of Food would contend that the present ration was satisfactory. I would never agree that our food supplies were satisfactory until we were able to get rid of rationing.
Was the Minister's estimate of an increase of 8½d. on the amount to be paid for the weekly rations made on the assumption that the meat ration would be kept at 10d.?
Does not the protein content in milk, peas and beans replace, to a large extent, the proteins in cheese and meat?
Does the Minister's answer include the eggs available for purchase by his Ministry?
There is another Question down about eggs, on which I shall be making a statement later.