HC Deb 14 April 1943 vol 388 cc1216-7
59. Miss Rathbone

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he is aware that American Service men and others in this country, accustomed to the plentiful use of iced water with their meals, often find water so difficult to obtain at hotels and restaurants that they are compelled to order alcoholic drinks or minerals; and whether he will discourage this consumption of drinks involving the use of labour and imported materials by requiring hotels and restaurants to supply water in an easily accessible form at all meals?

Mr. Mabane

I would refer the hon. Lady to the reply to a similar Question on 19th January.

Miss Rathbone

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that since he gave his astounding answer to my previous Question, denying that any difficulty exists, scores of people, especially those in touch with Americans, have poured in on me the information that there is serious difficulty? If the hon. Gentleman wants to test it, will he go into an hotel and see how long it takes to get a glass of water?

Mr. Mabane

I cannot accept the hon. Lady's interpretation of my previous reply, which was: My Noble Friend sees no occasion for the making of an order such as my hon. Friend suggests."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 19th January, 1943; col. 57, Vol. 386.] I can say, however, regarding this question, that we have had no complaints from American Forces in this country that they are unable to get all the water they want and that following the new proposals of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer water may now become more generally available.

Sir L. Lyle

Is it not a fact that there is a shortage of alcoholic drinks as well as iced water?

Viscountess Astor

Would the hon. Gentleman ask some Americans about this? They are not complaining, but I can assure him that there is real hardship. Perhaps my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs will look into the matter?

Mr. Gallacher

Would the hon. Gentleman consider the statement made by his Noble Friend that there is an increase of water in beer? Why not accelerate this process until beer is water?