HC Deb 12 July 1948 vol 453 cc817-8
2. Mr. Gallacher

asked the Minister of Food whether he will give the number of civic restaurants which have been opened during the past year; the number closed by local authorities during the same period; and what steps he is taking to help local authorities to open up these restaurants, in view of the high prices charged in cafes under private ownership.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food (Dr. Edith Summerskill)

I regret that I am unable to give the exact information but 1,098 Civic Restaurants were operating on 29th March, 1947, and 773 on 3rd January, 1948, the latest date for which figures are available. My Department and the Ministry of Health are both eager to help local authorities to open civic restaurants but the initiative must lie with the local authorities.

Mr. Gallacher

Is the Minister aware of the very great importance of these restaurants to workers in industries where there are no canteens, and will every step be taken not only to encourage, but to incite and inspire local authorities to get civic restaurants operating?

Dr. Summerskill

I fully agree with what my hon. Friend has said and I am willing to inspire local authorities but not to incite them.

Mr. Frederic Harris

Is not the reason why civic restaurants have been closed in many places the tremendous cost to the rates?

Dr. Summerskill

No, Sir. I cannot agree that that is always the case.