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1952: Tea rationing to end

VIDEO : UK starts tea trading again

News of the end of tea rationing means Britons will soon be able to enjoy unlimited "cuppas" for the first time in 12 years.

During a speech in Newcastle the Minister of Food, Major Gwilym Lloyd-George, said rationing and price controls on tea would be lifted on Sunday.

Major Lloyd-George said the Ministry of Food had taken advantage of a steady improvement in supplies of tea since the end of the war.

The price of tea would not rise due to the abolition of price controls, Major Lloyd-George added.

And he hinted at a further easing of rationing in the near future.

"We are getting out of the import of raw sugar and - it is only a little matter - we are getting out of the banana trade soon," he said.

De-rationing schedule

The lifting of tea rationing follows the UK's recent re-entry into the international tea trading arena with the resumption of public tea auctions in London.

Nearly a third of the tea produced in the world is consumed in the UK and Ireland and the government is no doubt hoping for a boost in popularity by making the nation's favourite beverage freely available again.

However, a rush to buy tea is not anticipated as the weekly ration was increased to 3oz per head - the pre-war consumption level - some time ago.

Rationing has been in force since January 1940, a few months after the start of the Second World War.

In 1948 the government announced the start of a de-rationing programme but so far little progress has been made.

In Context
During World War II all sorts of foods items were rationed as well as clothing, furniture and petrol.

The year after tea was freed from rationing a host of other items including sweets, eggs, butter and sugar were made freely available again.

Rationing of foodstuffs finally ended in July 1954 when meat was taken off the ration books.

Food Minister Gwilym Lloyd-George was the son of former Prime Minister David Lloyd-George.

In 1922 he entered parliament as a Liberal, like his father, but later became a Conservative and held several posts in Conservative Governments from 1951-1957.

He was created Viscount Tenby in 1957 and died in 1967.


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