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Family Diets

Volume 523: debated on Monday 1 February 1954

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asked the Minister of Food what action he proposes to take, following the findings of the recent national food survey that the diet of families where there are four or more children has fallen below the national average, to ensure that such families are adequately fed.

:As young children have smaller needs than adults for certain foods, the consumption of households with four or more children naturally tends to fall below the national average. The figures to which the hon. Member refers relate to 1951. I am watching the position with care.

Has there not recently been an investigation by the British Medical Association into this matter? Is not the Minister aware that because of the rising prices of foods a number of people are falling below—[Hon. Members: "No."] Yes, the prices of necessary foods have risen. Is the Minister aware that, in consequence, some families are living below what is considered to be the requisite nutritional standard?

:I am watching this position very carefully. It is not a matter that can be treated otherwise than seriously. In view of what he said about the rising prices, and as his Question refers to 1951, I would remind the hon. Member that that was a time when his right hon. Friends were in complete charge of the situation.

Would not the Minister agree that the consumption of milk has fallen during the last two years? As the amount of milk a family consumes increases proportionately with the number of children, what does he propose to do about it?

:The welfare scheme is not affected in any way. The drop in the consumption of milk is far too small to have any serious effects.