HC Deb 28 February 1955 vol 537 cc1715-6
46. Mr. Collins

asked the hon. Member for Woolwich, West, as Chairman of the Kitchen Committee, why the charge for beef in the House of Commons Dining Room has been increased from 2s. 9d. to 3s. 3d. per portion.

Mr. Steward

When the price of 2s. 9d. was fixed we had to accept a high percentage of frozen foreign meat. We are now able to obtain a continuous supply of prime Scotch beef. The cost is higher, and we have been obliged to increase our prices.

Mr. Collins

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that we have been constantly assured from the Government benches that the increase in price has been insignicant and there seems to me to be some delusion on his part? Therefore, will he consult his right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture and ascertain where this cheap meat can be found? If he finds that his right hon. Friend is wrong, would he educate him about the facts of life?

Mr. Burden

Are my hon. Friend and the Members of the Kitchen Committee not to be congratulated on the fact that last year, for the first time for many years, the Catering Department of the House has been run without a loss?

Mr. Wigg

As an English Nationalist, may I protest against the sale of Scottish beef in the dining room?

47. Mr. Crouch

asked the hon. Member for Woolwich, West, as Chairman of the Kitchen Committee, what percentage of white cheese used by his department is home-produced; what percentage is Empire; what percentage is foreign; and what percentage of blue vein cheese used is home production, Empire, and foreign, respectively.

Mr. Steward

The answer is: White Cheese—70 per cent. Home, 20 per cent. Empire, 10 per cent. Foreign. Blue Vein Cheese—50 per cent. Home, 50 per cent. Foreign.

Mr. Crouch

May I ask my hon. Friend, in view of the ample supplies of good English cheese now available, and since it has fallen by 3d. a lb. during the last 10 days, if he can increase the amount of English cheese used by the Kitchen Committee? Furthermore, is he aware that English blue vein cheese, such as good Stilton and Wensleydale, is far superior to anything we can import from abroad?

Mr. Steward

Of the white cheese, only 10 per cent. is foreign, and that includes cheeses of the type of Camembert which is popular with some hon. Members. The foreign blue vein cheeses include Gorgonzola and Danish Blue, which also are preferred by certain hon. Members.