HC Deb 19 December 1945 vol 417 cc1329-30
50. Mr. McKie

asked the Minister of Food how many British Restaurants are operating in the United Kingdom; and if it is his intention to continue these restaurants in whole or in part.

The Minister of Food (Sir Benjamin Smith)

On 15th September there were 1,450 British Restaurants operating in the United Kingdom. In addition to these there are 42 feeding centres set up by voluntary organisations and 24 school canteens serving meals to the general public. Under the Supplies and Services. (Transitional Powers) Act the temporary powers of local authorities to operate British Restaurants will be continued. The Government are in favour of local authorities being given permanent powers to operate British Restaurants and will when time permits ask Parliament to pass such legislation as may be necessary. With this object in view and in conjunction with the Minister of Health and the Secretary of State for Scotland I propose in the near future to consult with the representative associations of local authorities.

Sir Frank Sanderson

Can the right hon. Gentleman state whether British Restaurants are running at a profit or a loss, and, if at a loss, whether they are subsidised by the Government?

Sir B. Smith

Some are, and some are not, but in the future, the policy will be that each one will have to stand on its own economic footing.

Mr. Gallachcr

If there is any closing down of restaurants will the Minister give first priority to West End hotels?

Wing-Commander Roland Robinson

Will the right hon. Gentleman consult with the catering industry about this competition with legitimate trade?

Sir B. Smith

I imagine that the catering industry will wish to consult me.