Sugar (Distribution).

Oral Answers to Questions — Food Supplies. – in the House of Commons at on 10 November 1919.

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Photo of Mr Samuel Finney Mr Samuel Finney , Stoke-on-Trent Burslem

70.

asked the Food Controller, whether has attention has been called to complaints from householders-in Stoke-on-Trent respecting the unsatisfactory distribution of sugar; that, whilst confectioners are allowed ample supplies for their purposes, the supply to house holders is very much reduced, causing much inconvenience and suffering, especially so in the case of infirm and old people and mothers and young children; and whether he can arrange that adequate supplies for the use of house holders shall be made available in the early future?

Photo of Mr Charles McCurdy Mr Charles McCurdy , Northampton

No complaints of unsatisfactory distribution of sugar have been received from the Stoke-on-Trent district. The recent decision to fix the sugar ration at 8 ozs. per head per week instead of 12 ozs., at which it formerly stood, was arrived at on account of the shortage at present existing in the world's supply of sugar, and the resulting necessity that consumption in this country should be reduced. Allotments of sugar to confectioners have, in common with those to other manufacturers, also been substantially reduced. It will, however, be understood that any undue restriction on the use of sugar for manufacturing purposes would inevitably give rise to unemployment in the industries affected; and in the case of the confectionery trade in particular, would cause very serious hardship to the large number of small traders who mainly depend for their livelihood upon the sale of sweets and chocolate.

Photo of Colonel Josiah Wedgwood Colonel Josiah Wedgwood , Newcastle-under-Lyme

Are we to understand that the confectionery trade and the manufacturers have not had their supplies reduced pro rata with the ordinary consumer of sugar, and is he aware that that gives the impression that the manufacturers by bringing pressure have been able to keep up their supplies?

Photo of Mr Charles McCurdy Mr Charles McCurdy , Northampton

The reduction to manufacturers is not pro rata with the reduction to the domestic consumer. The reduction in the case of manufacturers amounts to 25 per cent., and the reason why it has not been a larger reduction is because in the case of manufacturers it must inevitably lead to unemployment and to greater hardship for all classes of the community who are dependent for their livelihood upon the supply of sugar. In the judgment o the Food Ministry, their case is much Larder than that of the consumer.

Several hon. Members rose—

Photo of Mr James Lowther Mr James Lowther , Penrith and Cockermouth

We have already had the same question twice.