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Volume 524: debated on Monday 1 March 1954

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asked the Minister of Food if he will publish in HANSARD details of the type and category of foodstuffs that are now available in greater quantity and variety than was the case on 1st October, 1951; and the price of these commodities on 1st February, 1954, in comparison with 1st October, 1951, in so far as they come within the control of his Department.

No, Sir. But I will answer now that, comparing 1953 with 1951, there was eaten more beef, mutton, pork, bacon and ham, sugar, sweets, eggs, tea, fresh and dried fruit, and various types of milk products. To the second part of the Question, the answer in terms of the Interim Index is 16 per cent.

Am I to take it, therefore, that those items mentioned by the hon. Gentleman in part compensate for the non-take-up of basic rations such as bacon, cheese, butter, margarine and others?

The hon. Member will not realise that the higher a ration goes and the greater the extent to which off-ration sales are permitted, to that extent the percentage take-up is bound to fall, and that the one way of achieving the high take-up for which he sighs is lower rations and more rationing.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the basic foodstuffs in the list he has read cost the people of this country an extra £400 million compared with when we were in office and place an intolerable burden on lower income groups?

But the increased cost on the 2¼ years—which is the basis of the Question—was less than the increased cost during the previous 12 months under the party opposite.

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I propose to raise the matter on the Adjournment.