HC Deb 30 March 1944 vol 398 cc1535-6
16. Mr. Wootton-Davies

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how long the No Treating Order was valid during the last war; and what was its effect on the reduction of drunkenness.

Mr. H. Morrison

No general Order prohibiting treating throughout the country was ever in force. In October, 1914, Lord Kitchener issued an appeal to civilians to refrain from placing temptation in the way of the troops by immoderate treating. In June, 1915,, the Central Control Board, which had been set up by the Minister of Munitions because drunkenness affecting naval, military and industrial efficiency was prevalent in certain areas, was empowered to impose local restrictions of various kinds. Gradually these restrictions were applied to areas covering a large part of the country. Amongst these restrictions there was included a "no treating" provision. The first of these provisions came into operation in the central part of Newhaven in June, 1915, and all the "No Treating" provisions were repealed in June, 1919. How far the improvements effected were due to the "no treating" restrictions as distinct from numerous other restrictions, particularly the drastic curtailment of permitted hours, it is impossible to say. Some responsible observers believed that the "no treating" restrictions had value, but the conditions prevailing 30 years ago, when charges for drunkenness numbered over 212,000 as against 28,000 in 1942, are fortunately so remote from present-day conditions that guidance as to present-day policy cannot, I think, be drawn from such scanty information as is available regarding the effect of the "no treating" Orders during the last war.

Viscountess Astor

Does not the right hon. Gentleman consider that something ought to be done to relieve the anxiety of people who are deeply worried about the treating of young girls in public houses? Would not a no-treating order help in this very important matter?

Mr. Morrison

I am quite aware, that there is anxiety on the point but, really, the drink situation has been revolutionised in the intervening period. Although I am a supporter of delegated legislation in certain respects, I try not to overburden the community with new Regulations unless there is a good case for them.

Sir W. Wayland

Does not the present price of beer prevent drunkenness?

Mr. McGovern

Is it not the case that the greater the restrictions the greater the drunkenness? Is not the best way to eliminate drunkenness to cater completely for the amusement of troops and public?

Mr. Speaker

I must point out to hon. Members that this Question relates to the last war and not to the present war.

Viscountess Astor

Is it not true that more women drink in this war than did in the last war?

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