Leeds nostalgia: October 1947: Margarine muscles out butter in the nation’s larder

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On this day in 1947, two years after the end of the most destructive war in history but not yet beyond the clutches of rationing, margarine shouldered its way into the larders of the nation’s housewives, pushing butter out of the way in the process.

In fact, it was more out of necessity than choice that people began to eat more margarine, primarily because the rationing of butter was reduced this week in 1947 from 3oz to 2oz, while the equivalent provision of margarine was increased from 3oz to 4oz.

The total weekly fat ration remained unchanged at 7oz (including 1oz of cooking fat). The reason given for this change was a drop in supply of butter from New Zealand and Australia. It was understood the governments of both countries were in talks to discuss ways of increasing production.

Meanwhile, the price of granulated sugar rose from 3d to 5d per pound.

Meanwhile, the most radical government ever to take office in Westminster, was talking about nationalising the gas and coal industries and amending the 1911 Parliament Act to curb the power of the House of Lords.

The Labour government feared the Lords would block the Iron and Steel Bill (which related to its nationalisation programme) and so it sought to further limit the power the Lords by reducing the number of times they could reject Commons legislation from three to two and reducing the amount of time they could take to do that from two years to one.

It was the constitutional crisis of its day.

They passed The Parliament Act in 1947 but it took two years for it to gain royal assent, meaning it came into force in 1949. The acts are rarely used but are still in force.

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