HC Deb 08 December 1943 vol 395 cc974-6
56. Squadron-Leader Errington

asked the Minister of Food whether he is aware that, by reason of the instructions of his Department that food should be cooked seven miles away from the Bootle British Restaurant at which it was served, losses were sustained; and whether he is prepared to take over financial responsibility in respect of the losses incurred?

Mr. Mabane

I am aware that the British Restaurants established by the Bootle County Borough Council were for some time operated in association with cooking depots situated at a distance from the restaurants. I cannot, however, agree that this arrangement, which is operated successfully by other local authorities, was responsible for the losses incurred by the council on its British Restaurants and cooking depots. The reply to the last part of the Question is, No, Sir.

57. Squadron-Leader Errington

asked the Minister of Food in how many cases and at what cost has his Department implemented its promise that in emergency conditions it would be responsible for any loss sustained by British Restaurants due to such conditions?

Mr. Mabane

Payments on account amounting to £15,450 have been made to four local authorities in respect of losses incurred in the operation of British Restaurants under emergency conditions. The final amounts payable cannot be ascertained until the audit of accounts has been completed.

58. Squadron-Leader Errington

asked the Minister of Food whether he is aware that in consequence of heavy air raids on Merseyside the Bootle British Restaurants had to be operated in unforeseen conditions for the benefit of other than the citizens of Bootle; and whether he is prepared to implement his undertaking to bear the loss suffered by unforeseen conditions of operation?

Mr. Mabane

Yes, Sir. I am aware that the Bootle County Borough Council had to improvise British Restaurant facilities after heavy air raids in May, 1941, and that these facilities had for a time to be operated under emergency conditions. In view of the nature of the losses incurred, a special investigation has been made and the Council informed that £4,500 will be reimbursed of the total loss of £5,866 sustained during the period ending 30th September, 1941.

Squadron-Leader Errington

Is the hon. Member aware that the total loss was something like £9,000, and will he reconsider the position in the light of that fact?

Mr. Mabane

I think the loss to which the hon. and gallant Member refers was not incurred during the emergency period. I have stated the total loss during the emergency period.