HC Deb 26 April 1906 vol 156 cc30-2
* MR. MORTON (Sutherland)

I beg to ask the hon. Member for Mid-Derbyshire, as Chairman of the Kitchen Committee, whether the food supplied, and the wages paid, to the waiters and other employees in the refreshment department of the House of Commons are in accordance with the trades union rate; whether, seeing that one-half the grant of £2,000, which is annually made by this House to the Kitchen Committee, was obtained to pay the employees fair wages, he will say whether the grant has been or is being used to pay such wages, or whether it has been used to purchase and store wines in the cellars of this House; whether, seeing that the wine, at present mainly champagne, in the cellars of the House is valued at nearly £6,000, the Kitchen Committee will either increase the price of each meal supplied to Members of this House and apportion the amount so received among the waiters and employees of the refreshment department, or dispose of some of the stock of wines to enable them to do so; whether, when provision has been made for adequately remunerating the employees, the Committee will resolutely prohibit the practice of tipping waiters or any other employees; and will the Committee present a complete financial statement and balance-sheet annually to the House.

MR. JACOBY (Derbyshire, Mid.)

The wages paid, and the food supplied to the waiters, and other employees of the refreshment department are, in the opinion of the majority of the Kitchen Committee, fair and satisfactory. The conditions of employment being different to restaurants, hotels, etc., it is impossible to compare rates of wages. The grant of £2,000 which is annually made by the House to the Kitchen Committee is expended on wages for the employees. The amount paid in wages and salaries last year was £4,036 16s. 6d. The Kitchen Committee do not propose to increase the price of meals, and owing to the difference of opinion of Members of this House, have decided not to lay down a hard and fast rule as regards the practice of tipping. The Kitchen Committee will present its usual annual Return before the end of the session.