HC Deb 13 October 1943 vol 392 c878
55. Sir Alfred Beit

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he will authorise hotels, restaurants, cafes and canteens to serve fresh fruit, in addition to the maximum of three courses, during the autumn season, when plums, pears and apples are plentiful, provided that the total authorised charge for a meal is not exceeded?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food (Mr. Mabane)

No, Sir.

Sir A. Beit

Is not my hon. Friend aware that a great number of restaurants, particularly those authorised to charge an additional house charge, now supply meals of a very poor quality and quantity? In view of this fact why should not this concession be allowed?

Mr. Mabane

Because it is very necessary that fruit should be available to the general public, and were this proposal adopted there would he far too great an uptake of fruit by the catering establishments.

Sir A. Beit

Does not the public make ample use of the canteens and places mentioned in the Question?

Mr. Evelyn Walkden

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that many cafés and restaurants already make 500 per cent. profit on a 2½d. cup of tea, and that they may charge 1s. for a penny apple if the Parliamentary Secretary agrees to the suggestion in the Question?

Miss Rathbone

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that there would be much less feeling about the lack of fresh fruit if restaurants did not make a habit of making it almost impossible for customers to get drinking water?