Orders of the Day — Malnutrition.

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons on 8th July 1936.

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Photo of Mr Arthur Greenwood Mr Arthur Greenwood , Wakefield

I suppose the bon. Gentleman is a good cook himself. I am not, and do not pretend to be. There is a quotation which I should like to give, because it has a bearing on this question. It is from a speech made by Mr. Colin Campbell, when presiding at the annual meeting of the National Provincial Bank at the end of January this year, in which he was arguing for increased purchasing power among the masses of the people. He said: It had been estimated that, if the undernourished classes in this country were able to enjoy a full diet, there would be an increased trade in foodstuffs amounting to about £200,000,000 a year, giving revived activity to British farming without harming overseas trade or shipping. I ask the House, is it not sensible, in a democratic nation facing the trials which we are facing now, to see that the people who are the backbone of the nation have at least the necessaries of life? Are we asking too much? All hon. Members on the opposite side of the House who understand the beginning of politics—many of them do not—know this to be true. If the drums of war began to beat, hon. Members opposite would be on the recruiting platforms asking the miners and the workers to go to war again. They would be heroes again then. When it comes to a national crisis it is not people who sit on that bench who matter. It is the common people. I have said before at this Box, that the one thing that matters more than anything else to our people now is the quality of the race.