HC Deb 29 June 1943 vol 390 cc1447-8
19. Mr. A. Edwards

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that in many camps complaints are made that members of the Auxiliary Territorial Service cannot obtain soft drinks in the canteen and are being compelled to drink beer and that there is difficulty in getting water; and whether he will see that in all canteens there is an adequate supply of drinking water?

Mr. A. Henderson

Water is obtainable at all canteens and any demand for it will be met. On the question of soft drinks I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for the Combined English Universities (Miss Rathbone) on 13th April. If my hon. Friend will send me particulars of any specific case he has in mind I will have it investigated.

Mr. Edwards

Is not my hon. and learned Friend aware that at the camps I have visited during the last two weeks complaints were made by officers who thought it a great pity that the girls in the camps should be almost forced into drinking beer in the canteens because no soft drinks were available? Ought not his Department to take up this matter on their own initiative?

Mr. Henderson

It would be of great assistance to me and the Department if my hon. Friend would let me have the names of the camps.

Mr. John Dugdale

But is not beer virtually a soft drink anyhow?

Mr. Leach

Has there been any demand for water?

Miss Rathbone

Arising out of a previous Question I put on this subject, is the hon. and learned Gentleman aware that there was soon afterwards an abundant supply of soft drinks at the canteen I referred to, showing that when a grievance is brought to the notice of the authorities there is no scarcity of soft drinks but that they are not always supplied unless specially asked for?