§ 67. Mr. JAMES STUART
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Overseas. Trade Department whether he is aware that dissatisfaction exists in Colonial circles in connection with the British Empire Exhibition, owing to the refusal of the catering contractors to provide facilities for corporate luncheons and dinners at the exhibition except at the Lucullus, where the price is prohibitive to the majority of visitors, and that, again, with this one exception, the caterers have recently issued an edict forbidding all reservation of tables at the exhibition; and whether representations can be made to the exhibition authorities with a view to securing that, in return for their monopoly, the caterers should show greater consideration for the comfort and convenience of their customers?
§ Mr. LUNN
I have not received any complaints regarding the facilities for such luncheons and dinners at the British Empire Exhibition as the hon. Member has in mind. With regard to the reservation of tables, I am informed by the British Empire Exhibition authorities that the caterers are prepared to reserve tables at the Lucullus at all times, and at the Grand Restaurant until 12.30 for luncheon and 7.0 p.m. for dinner. The caterers consider that, in view of the numbers of visitors to the exhibition, it would be undesirable at other hours to reserve accommodation for those who wish to order tables in advance, when it is only with the greatest difficulty that they are able to meet the immediate demands of those who are waiting for admission to the restaurants.
§ Mr. BECKER
Is it not a fact that trade union delegates had great difficulty in getting tables booked at this restaurant?
§ 71. Sir E. HUME-WILLIAMS
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department what share of the profits made by Messrs. Lyons in the exercise of their catering monopoly at the British Empire Exhibition goes to 27 the management of the exhibition; and what sums, if any, have to date been received in respect of such profits?
§ Mr. LUNN
I understand from the exhibition authorities that the receipts from Messrs. Lyons under their concession are calculated upon graduated percentages of their gross takings and not upon profits. As regards the rest of the question, I am advised that it is not desirable at the present stage to give detailed information in regard to the terms of concessions and as to the receipts from them.
§ Mr. HARMSWORTH
Will the hon. Gentleman, at the termination of the exhibition, be able to make a statement of the profits made by Messrs. Lyons at the exhibition and the amount paid by them for the catering?
§ Major COLFOX
Will the hon. Gentleman at the same time make a statement of the profits which have been made by Messrs. McAlpine?
§ Sir E. HUME-WILLIAMS
Seeing that the firm in question made a profit of £700,000 last year, after paying debenture interest, will the hon. Gentleman take steps to secure that some part of this sum shall go to the exhibition authorities?
§ Mr. P. HARRIS
What is the reason for having any mystery as to the terms of the concession? Why not have them made known to the House?
§ 72. Sir E. HUME-WILLIAMS
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Overseas Department whether his attention 28 has been called to the fact that at the Lucullus Restaurant belonging to Messrs. Lyons at the British Empire Exhibition, where a minimum sum of 25s. is charged for each dinner, no intimation of that fact is given to a diner, either in the menu or elsewhere, until he discovers it for himself in his bill; and whether he will arrange with the management that in future the price of this dinner shall be conveyed to the intending diner before he has eaten it as well as after?
§ Mr. THURTLE
Will my hon. Friend arrange for a detachment of First Aid men to be present at this restaurant when these people get, their bills?