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Volume 524: debated on Monday 1 March 1954

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asked the Minister of Food how the saving of £880,000 in administrative costs regarding eggs was made; and what is now the estimated net saving for 1953–54.

Because since de-control the accounts of the eggs division do not have to bear a share of the cost of regional and local food offices. The net saving for 1953–54, compared with 1952–53, is now estimated at £975,000.

Can the hon. Gentleman explain whether he is now misleading his hon. Friend the Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) or me? [HON. MEMBERS: "Both."] No. Can he say whether he agrees with his right hon. and gallant Friend that the eggs division must not be abolished or agrees with the hon. Member for Kidderminster to whom he replied that these considerable savings had been made in his Department in the administration of egg distribution?

The hon. Member knows very well that for the purposes of the interim scheme the continuance of the eggs division is necessary. Furthermore, in the light of further economies, the figure of £880,000 has been revised to make it now £975,000.

Is my hon. Friend aware that the outstanding result of his policy has been to make eggs abundant, cheap and readily available without a black market, whereas the policy of the previous Government resulted in one stale egg per ration book per week?

Will the hon. Gentleman kindly refer the hon. Member for Kidderminster to the figures published by the Ministry which contradict all he said? Will the hon. Gentleman realise how foolish he has been in making these administrative economies at the expense of the substantial losses that are being made in the administration of the egg subsidy?

This Question refers to savings as a result of the ending of egg control. The hon. Member in his general statements really must not fall into the habit of believing everything he says.