HC Deb 26 January 1948 vol 446 cc640-1
14. Mr. Marlowe

asked the Minister of Food what quantity of food has so far been saved as a result of S.R. & O., 1955 (Meals at Social Functions), which limits to 100 the number of persons who may take a meal together; and what is the estimated saving over the next six months.

Mr. Strachey

I would refer the hon. Member to the Debate in the House on Thursday, 27th November.

Mr. Marlowe

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that that does not answer my Question at all? Is not the reason for his answer the fact that he does not know whether he is going to make a saving or not, and, if he does not know, what justification is there for continuing the Order?

Mr. Strachey

The Order was never bound up with any suggestion that it would save an estimable amount of rationed foodstuffs. All the psychological reasons were given in that Debate.

28. Mr. Mitchison

asked the Minister of Food why a licence was recently granted under the Meals Service at Social Functions Order, for the annual Winkle Club dinner of Hastings fishermen; what is the distinction, for the purpose of such a licence, between that dinner, dinners of business organisations and associations, trade unions and staff associations, regimental and other Service gatherings, functions promoted by the British Legion and Old Comrades' Association and the dinner recently proposed to be given to the staff of the "Northampton Evening Telegraph" to celebrate the golden jubilee of that newspaper and to welcome home the ex-Service members of the staff.

Mr. Strachey

I regret that, owing to a misunderstanding the licence was wrongly issued to the Winkle Club. No licence should be issued for the sole purpose of serving a meal at a social or business gathering. That is the reason for refusing a licence in the cases mentioned by my hon. Friend.

Mr. Mitchison

Will the Minister reconsider the question of licences on occasions of considerable local importance, as distinct from national importance, bearing in mind that a licence was refused in this case for the golden jubilee celebrations of a newspaper which has a wide circulation and a large staff, and that it was an occasion of considerable local importance; and that, further, he ought not to give a preference to London as against a provincial town, such as Kettering?

Mr. Strachey

I cannot agree that there is any preference for London as against provincial centres in this matter, but I would say that it is a very difficult order to administer. Some exceptions must be made, and it is difficult to find watertight rules for them.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Would the Minister define "provincial centres"?

37. Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

asked the Minister of Food whether he has considered the photographs taken at a dinner organised by the Bow and Bromley Labour Party at Poplar Town Hall on 8th January, 1948, which have been sent to him by the hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames; and whether he is now satisfied that the licence for this dinner was properly granted.

Mr. Strachey

Yes, Sir. The licence was, in my opinion, properly granted, but I am not yet in a position to say whether its conditions were observed. The matter is still under inquiry.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Does the right hon. Gentleman's answer mean that the licence was properly granted, provided that the facts set out on the application were true, but that what he is investigating is whether or not his officer was misled?

Mr. Strachey

The question whether the conditions under which the licence was granted were duly observed is what we are investigating.

Lieut. - Commander Braithwaite

In view of the right hon. Gentleman's previous answer, that this order was originally imposed on psychological grounds, may I ask whose morale has been uplifted by the granting of the licence?

Mr. Strachey

The suggestion is that if the licence was granted unduly easily, then nobody's morale was uplifted by it.

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