HC Deb 19 April 1948 vol 449 cc1416-7
14. Mr. Baker White

asked the Minister of Food whether in view of the improvement in stocks, he will grant an additional ration of sugar to farm workers in order to sustain their energy through the longest working days of the farming year.

Mr. Strachey

We have already made special allowances of rationed foods, including sugar, for farm workers when they are working long hours on certain occupations. I am afraid that any further allowances to these workers is not possible.

Mr. Baker White

Will the Minister keep in mind the fact that farm workers are not getting enough energy-making foods, and that in the coming months they will have to work very long hours indeed?

Mr. Strachey

Yes, Sir. There will, of course, be the usual harvest and other heavy work allowances.

Mr. Spence

Would the Minister not consider increasing the sugar ration in view of the recent cut in cheese? Is he aware that they only get two-fifths of an ounce of cheese?

Mr. Strachey

No, Sir, because the cheese ration to farm workers has not been reduced from the level of 12 ounces.

Mr. Odey

Would the Minister bear in mind in this connection that in the majority of cases these agricultural workers have no access to works canteens?

Mr. Strachey

Yes, that is why they receive differential rations.

15. Mr. Hardy

asked the Minister of Food if he is aware of the peculiar hours of duty performed by municipal and district midwives, especially during the night-time; and if he will consider allowing them a little more tea, sugar and milk as compensation for the arduous duties and long distances they have to travel during the time they are on duty.

Mr. Strachey

Whilst appreciating the valuable and arduous service performed by midwives, I regret we could not base differential rationing or extra allowances on the number of hours of duty during the day or night.

Mr. Hardy

Does the Minister appreciate that many of these midwives, who are called out to perform their duties, are, in many instances, retained at the house for hours on end, and have to take tea from time to time from people who can ill afford it from their ration? Would the Minister state if he is prepared to look into this question, more particularly in the case of midwives working in rural districts, who have to travel many hours at a time in performing their duties?

Mr. Strachey

I quite agree that there is an excellent case in regard to the midwife, but, unfortunately, if we began differential rationing in this category it would be quite impossible to refuse it to other categories.

Mr. Godfrey Nicholson

Is not the attitude of the Government in this connection that of "Penny wise, pound foolish"?