HC Deb 25 November 1942 vol 385 cc718-9
54. Mr. Evelyn Walkden

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he is aware of the increased difficulties of fish and chip fryers and caterers in the North Midlands and Yorkshire areas to obtain adequate supplies of fish to provide meals for war workers and their families; and whether, as this form of catering is similar to, and as popular with the workers as, British Restaurants, he will examine the merits of their claim for increased supplies?

Mr. Mabane

I am aware that fish fryers and retailers in many districts cannot obtain all the fish they require, but this is mainly due to the decline in the volume of landings under war conditions. The arrangements now in operation for the distribution of fish provide that all traders will receive their due proportions of available supplies; it would not be possible to increase the entitlement of one section of the industry without hardship to others.

Mr. Walkden

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that many of these caterers provide midday meals for thousands of war workers who have no canteen facilities or British Restaurants? Are not they entitled to some kind of favourable consideration, in view of the useful contribution they are making in feeding the people in industrial areas?

Mr. Mabane

I am fully aware of the service rendered by these restaurants, but I do not think that the House and the country would agree that any section of the trade should have more favourable consideration than any other.

Mr. Higgs

Will the hon. Gentleman use his influence to institute a general inquiry into the distribution of fish?

Mr. Mabane

The position is being watched very carefully daily.

Sir Herbert Williams

Why is it that since the zoning scheme was introduced only hake have allowed themselves to be caught?