HC Deb 07 February 1945 vol 407 c2071
49. Colonel Greenwell

asked the Minister of Food if it is with his approval that British Restaurants enter into competition with ordinary firms of outside caterers for the supply of refreshments at public functions; and if he is aware that this practice is greatly resented by private catering firms who are finding it difficult to carry on under present day conditions without this additional handicap.

Colonel Llewellin

The function of British Restaurants is primarily that of providing meals for those whose work or business makes it necessary for them to take a meal away from their homes in localities where adequate catering facilities are not otherwise available. So long as these activities are not interfered with and charges are made on a commercial basis Local Authorities responsible for these restaurants are left free to decide whether to use these facilities for the purposes referred to by my hon. and gallant Friend.

Colonel Greenwell

May I ask my right hon. and gallant Friend if he approves of this competition between independent catering firms and British Restaurants?

Mr. McGovern

Is the Minister aware of the discontent of certain caterers through the dumping down of these restaurants in the vicinity of other competing restaurants, and of the serious grievance because British Restaurants can get ample supplies of food whereas caterers cannot?

Colonel Llewellin

No, Sir. The supplies, both to British Restaurants and to caterers, are based on the number of meals served.

Mr. Evelyn Walkden

Will not the Minister state frankly that in the vast majority of cases where these public functions take place, local caterers can neither supply the labour and material nor are they interested in contracting at all, and that only British Restaurants can do the job?

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