HC Deb 04 December 1941 vol 376 cc1238-9

The Home Secretary, in replying to a deputation consisting of: —

said that the representation which had been made to the Secretary of State for Scotland and himself by the Production Departments and the Ministry of Labour showed that facilities, similar to those provided in the N.A.A.F.I. Institutes for soldiers, were necessary for these workers in war-time circumstances, and he pointed out that many were working in remote places where the ordinary facilities of town and village were absent.

In these circumstances power had been taken to authorise where clearly required, the sale of liquor under strict conditions which were far more stringent than those which governed the sale in public houses. He assured the deputation that there was no question of providing increased facilities for further drinking. Under the Regulation drink, which would normally be beer, would as a general rule only be supplied with food to persons working in the premises for which the canteen was provided. Credit would not be allowed and any profits that might be made would, wherever practicable, be devoted to welfare purposes. The authorisation to operate the canteen would very often be granted to an accredited organisation such as the National Service Hostels Corporation and the canteen would be open to inspection by the Department granting the authorisation, and by the factory inspectors.

Before any authorisation were granted the question whether it was desirable in view of facilities in the neighbourhood, would be looked into, and if an authorisation were granted the hours during which liquor might be sold would ordinarily be those for licensed premises in the neighbourhood, or if any variation were required, they would not exceed the aggregate of the permitted hours. Steps would be taken to prevent drunkenness or disorderly conduct and the police would have access to enter and inspect the premises at any time.

Mr. Morrison assured the deputation that Mr. Johnston and himself had considered the position of young persons very carefully indeed, that they were working closely together on this question and that steps would be taken to secure that the managers appointed to operate the canteens would pay special attention to the protection of such young persons. Finally, he made it clear that any authorisation granted under the Regulation would be limited to a period of six months subject to renewal. In many cases it would not be necessary for the authorisation to be granted for as long a time.