HC Deb 01 May 1940 vol 360 cc694-6


25. Commander Sir Archibald South by

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he is aware that officers who, by reason of their duties, are compelled to find accommodation in London Midland and Scottish Railway Company's hotels are being charged £5 5s. a week inclusive, but that, if their duties take them away for a day or two, they are not allowed any rebate for unconsumed meals; whether he is aware that in the London Midland and Scottish Railway Company's hotels a service charge has been arbitrarily added to all bills commencing on 1st April, 1940, and varying from 10 to 50 per cent.; if the imposition of such a service charge is in accordance with regulations; and whether he will take steps to prevent officers and men who have perforce to use London Midland and Scottish Railway Company's hotels being charged more than the 10 per cent. universally accepted as the proper sum in lieu of tips for services rendered?

Sir V. Warrender

I am informed that the weekly rates quoted by my hon. and gallant Friend are less than those charged to members of the public living at these hotels en pension. When naval officers have for a period been compelled to stay, on account of their duties, at a hotel where the charge is £5 5s. a week, subsistence allowance has been paid to them. I am also informed that a service charge of 2s. on every 20s. is made on the en pension rates.

Sir A. South by

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that since this Question was put on the Order Paper Naval officers living in the Exchange Hotel, Liverpool, have been given notice to give up their rooms, although the hotel is only halt full? Will he take steps to prevent the exploitation of these officers who are engaged on arduous duties? In view of what he said in the last part of his answer may I ask whether he is aware that the charge of 3d. on a 9d. cup of coffee is made at lunch, and the same charge for a shilling cup of coffee is made after dinner?

Mr. Etherton

Will the Parliamentary Secretary bear in mind that where the charge is 21s. the service charge is 3s., being an increase of 100 per cent. on the extra shillings?

Sir V. Warrender

As I said in my original answer, these officers are given special terms at hotels and are given a subsistence allowance to cover the cost of their living there. My hon. and gallant Friend will understand that I have no power to control charges of the sort he has mentioned.

Sir A. South by

May I ask, in that case, whether my hon. Friend will discuss with the First Commissioner of Works the advisability of taking over this hotel and running it for these officers? [Interruption.] May I have an answer to that question? On a point of Order. In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply I shall raise this matter again on the Adjournment.

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