HC Deb 28 May 1941 vol 371 cc1853-4
53. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he will give a list of local authorities who have not prepared communal feeding centres; and what action is taken with these authorities, in view of the proved need for these centres in areas that have suffered through air-raids?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food (Major Lloyd George)

There are approximately 1,700 local authorities in England, Wales and Scotland. Many of these authorities represent rural areas with widely scattered populations where it is not necessary to provide British Restaurants. I am making available in the Library of the House lists of places for which plans have already been approved or are in the course of preparation. There may be other places in the latter category of which I have not yet been advised by the local authority concerned. In reply to the last part of the Question, each divisional food officer has on his staff an officer who is specially charged with the duty of encouraging and assisting in the establishment of British Restaurants. These officers make personal contact with the local authorities in their division and give them all possible assistance in the matter.

Mr. Smith

I have had experience which shows the necessity for developments of that kind. Can the hon. and gallant Gentleman inform the House what steps are taken to deal with local authorities which do not carry out the instructions and advice of the Ministry?

Major Lloyd George

At the moment, so far as I know, we can do no more than urge them to give these facilities to their districts. I am glad to say that the speed of starting these restaurants has increased very rapidly in the last few weeks.

Mr. Lipson

Has not the Ministry power to set up these British Restaurants where the local authority fails to do so?

Major Lloyd George

I am not quite sure.