HC Deb 25 May 1949 vol 465 cc1263-4
50. Mr. Keeling

asked the Minister of Food if he will state the reason for the continuance of the war-time restriction on the price of restaurant meals; and, in view of the deterrent which the restriction presents to foreign tourists, whether he will remove it and at the same time give an assurance that the proportion of rationed foods given to restaurants is small and will not be increased.

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

I cannot add anything to the reply I gave in the House on 18th May to the hon. Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby).

Mr. Keeling

As there are many exceptions to the order, as it is frequently not enforced, as it not only deters foreigners from coming to this country, but baffles those who do come, should not the resources of the Central Office of Information be mobilised to explain this absurd order to the public, who are, perhaps, not quite so prejudiced in favour of austerity as the Ministry of Food seems to think?

Dr. Summerskill

The hon. Member has overlooked the fact that the ordinary housewife does not think this order absurd, and while it is necessary for the domestic consumers to supplement their rationed food with unrationed food it would be wrong to encourage caterers to take up more than their fair share of unrationed food.

Mr. Beswick

Would my right hon. Friend make it clear that if there are visitors who are withholding visiting this country simply because they cannot get more than their share of the food which otherwise would go to the working-class people of this country, we can do without their visits; and would she also make it clear that these restrictions will continue until such time as they can be relaxed first of all for the benefit of the housewives of this country?

Dr. Summerskill

I think that most visitors to this country recognise our difficulties and are prepared to accept them.

Mr. Keeling

I beg to give notice that I propose to raise this matter on the Adjournment tomorrow week.

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