Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

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1950 Feb 14 Tu
Margaret Thatcher

Speech in Dartford

Document type:public statement
Document kind:Speech
Venue:St Alban’s Hall, Dartford, Kent
Source:Kentish Times, 24 February 1950
Journalist:-
Editorial comments:Evening.
Importance ranking:Major
Word count:517
Themes:General Elections, Health policy, Social security and welfare, Agriculture, Housing, Local government, Monetary policy, Liberal and Social Demoratic Parties

HOUSING, FOOD AND WAGES

Questions Answered

A closing wrangle between two women in the audience enlivened the proceedings in St. Alban's Hall Dartford, on February 14, when Miss Roberts, the Conservative candidate, said that improvement in health had been gradual over many years. It was completely dishonest for politicians to use such improvement for Party ends.

Propaganda about the abolition of food subsidies was complete distortion, too, she said and pointed out that the tax we paid on tobacco, beer, and many purchases subsidised the bread roll on the plate of the rich. That was one of the things that was keeping up the level of subsidies. The enormous figure of £450,000,000 had to be cut down and one of the ways was to cut out bulk buying.

Food in Germany

Miss Roberts said they should not run away with the idea that food was so highly priced in Germany that the ordinary worker could not afford to buy it; but, she pointed out, certain things, as they were there, were rationed by the purse in this country under a Socialist Government. They also had to consider that Germany was an ex-defeated enemy.

"During the war," she declared, "we were fed by Lord Woolton in the face of U-boat attacks and the fact that we could not draw supplies from the greater part of Europe. Many think that since the end of the war, with no U-boat attacks and with most of Europe to draw on, the improvement of our food supplies has not been good enough."

At question-time a woman asked if de-rationing came to this country the average working could afford to pay for more than their rations? Miss Roberts repeated that she was not advocating de-rationing in this country until there were sufficient supplies. She had been trying to counteract distortion about Germany.

Another question about food in Germany was answered from the floor of the hall by a man who jumped up and shouted "I was in Germany a short time ago and I can assure you that peasants were buying all the meat they wanted. I proved that with my own eyes."

DELAY IN BUILDING

Another question asked the view of the Conservative policy to lift restrictions on private building of houses, what weekly repayments was necessary on a bought house, and how many people in the hall could afford such repayments?

Part of the question was answered by Mr. John Miller, who was on the platform, and who aid that he had some land in Gravesend on which he had hoped to build 68 houses. It had taken him 2½ years to licences for eight of these, which he was now building.

Miss Roberts, quoting one building society figures, said £1000 was repayable over 25 years at £1 4s. and 7½d. per week. There were many people waiting for Council houses, she said, who could afford and wanted to buy a house. If they let them build, then they were relieving the pressure on Council houses.

Asked about National Liberals and the election, Miss Roberts explained their breakaway from the old Liberal Party, and said theat, as a Conservative and National Liberal philosophies and ideals were so close to one another they did not oppose each other.