Old-Age Pensioners

Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Food – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 4th April 1955.

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Photo of Mr Frederick Willey Mr Frederick Willey , Sunderland North 12:00 am, 4th April 1955

asked the Minister of Food (1) whether he will make available the evidence provided by the National Food Survey that old-age pensioners in 1954 ate 50 per cent. more eggs than in 1951; (2) how the consumption of eggs by old-age pensioners in 1954 compared with that in 1950.

Mr. Amory:

The average consumption by old-age pensioners according to the National Food Survey was 3·0 eggs per head per week in 1950, 2·3 in 1951 and 3·4 in 1954.

Photo of Mr Frederick Willey Mr Frederick Willey , Sunderland North

Does the right hon. Gentleman not agree that the consumption of eggs in 1950 was substantially higher overall than in 1954, and is it not quite offensive to the old-age pensioners in those circumstances to say that they are eating very much more than they were in 1950?

Mr. Amory:

All the figures I have quoted are based on the National Food Survey, which, after all, is a statistical inquiry which has been used by both Governments. I do not really feel that the hon. Gentleman should try to query figures because they are not figures which are congenial to him.

Photo of Mr Frederick Willey Mr Frederick Willey , Sunderland North

In view of the fact that the right hon. Gentleman does not challenge the fact that I have stated, namely, that consumption overall was much higher in 1950 than in 1954, will he publish the full evidence on which this remarkable conclusion is based?

Mr. Amory:

The National Food Survey will be published in due course.

Photo of Sir Gerald Nabarro Sir Gerald Nabarro , Kidderminster

Is it not a fact that the real difference is that the eggs are now fresh, whereas formerly under the administration of the hon. Member opposite they were exceedingly "squiffy"?

Photo of Mr Frederick Willey Mr Frederick Willey , Sunderland North

In view of the Minister's statement, I beg to give notice that at the appropriate time I will raise this matter on the Adjournment.

Photo of Sir Richard Pilkington Sir Richard Pilkington , Poole

asked the Minister of Food what evidence he has from the National Food Survey to show that old-age pensioners are eating more or less than they did in 1951.

Mr. Amory:

The evidence is that old-age pensioners ate more food in 1954 than in 1951, and that their diet as a whole was more nutritious. As the evidence consists of a number of figures, I will, with permission, circulate a statement in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Photo of Sir Richard Pilkington Sir Richard Pilkington , Poole

Has my right hon. Friend made any calculation as to how much better off old-age pensioners will be when the new pensions come into force?

Photo of Mr William Warbey Mr William Warbey , Broxtowe

Can the Minister say whether the survey showed what sacrifices the old people are making in clothing, household necessities and personal comforts in order to pay the high food prices demanded?

Mr. Amory:

If the hon. Gentleman turns to the cost of living figures, he will find that the standard of living has not suffered.

Following is the information:

ESTIMATED FOOD CONSUMPTION OF OLD-AGE PENSIONER HOUSEHOLDS (OZ. PER HEAD PER WEEK UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED)
1951 (a)1954 (provisional)
Milk, including processed (pt. or equiv. pt.)4·94·9
Cheese, including unrationed2·73·1
Eggs (number)2·33·4
Butter4·04·4
Margarine3·84·5
Meat (including bacon and unrationed meat)25·731·6
Sugar11·118·0
Tea2·83·6
Calories (per head per day)2,2642,530
(a) Excluding two months, March and June, for which information is not available.