HC Deb 25 July 1939 vol 350 cc1259-60
58. Commander Locker-Lampson

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware of the tragic death last week of a waiter on the staff of this House; and whether he will consider taking over the payment and control of all the kitchen and refreshment-room staff and the management of the staff pensions fund in order to provide further relief for the staff when the House sits very late, to ensure conditions of employment comparable to those of established servants of the State; and to secure provision for widows and dependants of the staff of this House?

Captain Crookshank

I am aware of the tragic occurrence referred to in the first part of the question. As regards the second and third parts of the question, I see no reason for taking over the responsibilities which at present attach to the Kitchen Committee of this House.

Commander Locker-Lampson

Are not the conditions very serious, and will my right hon. and gallant Friend personally look into them? He will remember that within the last six weeks two servants of this House have committed suicide?

Captain Crookshank

As I have said, these are matters for the Kitchen Committee, a committee of this House, appointed by all of us to look after these questions.

Mr. Greenwood

Is it not the case that until the end of the War there was a Treasury subvention in order to maintain reasonable conditions?

Mr. Crossley

Is my right hon. and gallant Friend satisfied that the Kitchen Committee can pay adequate wages to maintain their staff in decent conditions without a Treasury grant?

Captain Crookshank

I do not think that that arises out of this question. If the Kitchen Committee have any views about this, they had better make a report.

Viscountess Astor

Will the right hon. and gallant Gentleman ask the Kitchen Committee to do so?

Captain Crookshank

It is normal that questions of this sort should be addressed to the Chairman of the Kitchen Committee. Perhaps the Noble Lady will ask him.

Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. Lambert Ward

Is it not the fact that the committee have already asked for a subvention from the Treasury?

Commander Locker-Lampson

Would it not be better to have an inquiry, so that all Members may know the facts about this?