HC Deb 15 October 1940 vol 365 cc570-1
2. Mr. Mathers

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what action he proposes to take in response to the resolution forwarded to him by the secretary of the Scottish Temperance Alliance, Edinburgh Council, regarding the Government failure to deal with the unrestricted use of alcoholic liquors, in order to prevent destruction of foodstuffs and secure efficiency?

Mr. E. Brown

I have noted the terms of the resolution referred to. Apart from the increased duties which have been imposed upon exciseable liquors, the production of whiskey has been reduced to one-third of the amount produced last year, and the limit set on the production of beer has not, in fact, been reached. I understand that the brewing and distilling industries together are estimated to be using between 25 and 30 per cent. less raw materials than they did before the war. A careful watch is being kept on the incidence of consumption, and I am in touch, in this connection, with other Ministers concerned.

Mr. Mathers

Apart from the destruction of foodstuffs that is involved here, does not the Minister think that the position has reached a serious pass when a member of the R.A.F. Intelligence Staff, convicted under the Defence Regulations, has to plead that he did not know what he had been saying to contravene these regulations, while he was under the influence of drink; and is not that a case for consideration?

Mr. Brown

That, of course, affects another Department, and I cannot be expected to answer for that Department.

Mr. Davidson

Will the Minister keep in mind the fact that I know a teetotaller who blethers more than anybody else about everything?