Consumption Statistics

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 how the consumption of butter, cheese and eggs for 1954 compares with the consumption in 1950.

Mr. Amory:

In 1950 consumption per head was:

lb.
Butter16·9
Cheese10·1 and
Eggs (shell)28·2
The provisional figures for 1954 are 14·2, 10·0 and 26·8 1b., respectively.

Photo of Mr Frederick Willey Mr Frederick Willey , Sunderland North

Can the right hon. Gentleman hold out any hope that as far as these essential foodstuffs are concerned we will ever reach the 1950 levels of consumption? Does he realise that this applies not only to these foodstuffs but to many others as well?

Mr. Amory:

We have a situation today where these foodstuffs are in free supply and are available at prices lower than those prices current at the time of decontrol.

Photo of Mr Marcus Lipton Mr Marcus Lipton , Lambeth Brixton

asked the Minister of Food whether he will inquire into the causes of the reduced consumption of dairy products, eggs, and vegetables in 1954, as compared with 1950.

Mr. Amory:

No, Sir. To do so would not be justified. Food consumption as a whole shows a substantial improvement during recent years.

Photo of Mr Marcus Lipton Mr Marcus Lipton , Lambeth Brixton

How can the right hon. Gentleman possibly reconcile the fantastic statement he has just made with the figures given in the Economic Survey published the other day, which show that there has been a substantial drop in the consumption of the articles mentioned in the Question in 1954 as compared with 1950? Is he challenging the accuracy of the Economic Survey, which shows that people are much worse off now than they were four years ago?

Mr. Amory:

As the hon. and gallant Gentleman knows, in 1950 the national stocks of food were allowed to run down rather seriously, with effects over the next year. Summing up the evidence, I would give the calory figures, which for 1950 were 3,050 and for last year were 3,120 provisionally.

Mr. T. Williams:

Will the right hon. Gentleman say, if there has been a large increase in the consumption of food in 1954 over 1950, where it came from?

Mr. Amory:

I think it came from many sources, and it shows the wisdom of the Government in handing over responsibility for the provision of our food so largely to private enterprise.

Photo of Dr Edith Summerskill Dr Edith Summerskill , Fulham West

Could the right hon. Gentleman say whether he has evidence to show that the increase is great in all the lowest income groups?

Hon. Members:

Answer.

Mr. Amory:

If the right hon. Lady will study the evidence, she will find that the increased consumption of food seems to be spread over a quite remarkably wide cross-section of the community.