HC Deb 05 February 1941 vol 368 c932
43. Sir Leonard Lyle

asked the Secretary of State for War whether there has been any case of waste of food in any camp reported to him within the last six months; and, if so, what action has been taken in each such case?

The Financial Secretary to the War Office (Mr. Richard Law)

Numerous cases of waste or alleged waste have been brought to notice by inspectors and catering advisers and by the public and the Press. All such cases, except where the unit concerned is not identified, are investigated and dealt with by the local military authorities.

Sir L. Lyle

Does not my hon. Friend think it is lamentable that these reports of wastage in camps should be allowed to continue at a time when the civilian population is severely rationed and sailors are losing their lives? Should not something more be done?

Mr. Law

I agree that this is a very serious problem. We are taking all steps, whether by disciplinary action or by instruction, to remedy it, but at the same time I would remind the House that it is not an easy problem. You cannot convert some hundreds of thousands of young Englishmen into prudent housewives overnight.

Mr. Sorensen

What percentage of these complaints has been found to be justified on investigation?

Mr. Law

I cannot say without notice, but there is a certain amount of wastage, although it is less than it was and will continue to get less.

Sir William Davison

Will not my hon. Friend impress on commanding officers of battalions the importance of this matter, and look into the matter personally?