HC Deb 01 April 1941 vol 370 cc845-6
26. Mr. Robert Gibson

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has any statement to make regarding the progress of canteens and communal feeding in industrial works and in industrial areas, respectively, in Scotland?

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour (Mr. Assheton)

I have been asked to reply. The number of works canteens is being substantially increased, and firms have been urged to increase facilities at existing canteens. The Chief Inspector of Factories recently discussed in Glasgow the provision of further canteens for shipbuilding yards and steps are being taken to secure them where required. As regards facilities for obtaining meals outside the works, my Department bring to the notice of the Ministry of Food, where necessary, particular industrial areas in which additional facilities appear to be called for.

Mr. Gibson

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in certain Government industrial premises which are fitted and equipped with canteens, the canteens are not being used? Has that been brought to his notice?

Mr. Assheton

No, it has not been brought to my notice, but I will certainly look into any case the hon. Member can send me.

Mr. Kenneth Lindsay

In view of the recent experiences on Clydebank, will the hon. Gentleman speed up the provision of communal centres, especially in the industrial areas?

Mr. Assheton

That is a matter for the Ministry of Food.

Mr. Gibson

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in certain quarters employers in industrial premises are refusing to do anything in connection with canteens except in so far as they are compelled by Regulations? Will he do his best to bring together employers and trade-union officials for the purpose of having these canteens equipped and brought into operation voluntarily, apart from Regulations?

Mr. Assheton

The information that we have from factory inspectors does not bear out the hon. and learned Member's suggestion.

Mr. Gibson

If I send the hon. Gentleman particulars, will he make inquiries?

Mr. Buchanan

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that some time ago his Chief came to Glasgow and promised speedy action in the matter, but that there is great complaint, particularly among working people, that little if any progress has been made in the provision of this much needed reform?

Mr. Assheton

We appreciate the need, and the progress has been substantial.

Mr. Lindsay

Is 'it the responsibility of the Ministry of Food or the Ministry of Labour?