HC Deb 26 February 1947 vol 433 cc2074-5
59. Mr. J. Langford-Holt

asked the Minister of Food how many wine stores have commenced operations in the West End of London since the end of hostilities with Germany; and whether licences to these establishments have all been approved by his Department.

Dr. Summerskill

In the area usually referred to as the West End of London, the number of applicants for Excise Licences in the period 10th May, 1945, to 19th February, 1947, was 165. These licences are granted by the Customs and Excise Department and the approval of the Ministry of Food is not necessary.

Mr. Nicholson

Is the Minister satisfied that these undertakings get their supplies legitimately?

Dr. Summerskill

They can only get their supplies through auctions, and that is legitimate.

Mr. James Hudson

Is the Minister satisfied that all these licences need have been granted, and has her Department taken any steps to insist on a lowering of the total supplies to these licensed places?

Dr. Summerskill

My Department takes the view that liquor is a luxury and not a necessity. Therefore, we are not concerned with issuing these licences. In my view, the licensing laws need revision.

Mr. R. S. Hudson

Can the hon. Lady say if that is the reason why there is a provision in the Civic Restaurants Bill for the sale of liquor?

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