HC Deb 17 December 1962 vol 669 cc883-5
45. Mrs. Slater

asked the hon. Member for Holland with Boston, as Chairman of the Kitchen Committee, why no improvements have been made to the servery in the Members' Tea Room; what proposals are in hand for improvements to it; and when they will be commenced.

Sir H. Butcher

The Committee is very conscious of the difficulties imposed on hon. Members and staff of the department alike from the peculiar accommodation problems of the department. In May, 1961, as Chairman of the Kitchen Committee, I requested the Serjeant at Arms to forward to the Ministry of Works certain items for inclusion in the 1962–63 estimates, but I was informed in March last that the Ministry had not been able to provide for all of these. Those not provided for included, as regards the Members' Tea Room, the provision of a waste-disposal unit and additional plate-racks. The Committee has repeated its request for these to be included in the 1963–64 estimates.

Mrs. Slater

Does the hon. Member for Holland with Boston remember that I withdrew a similar Question last year, having been told that it was hoped that these improvements would be made in the last long Recess? Does he not realise that the conditions in this servery break every food regulation which every local authority has in operation and that it is an absolute disgrace that women should have to work under such conditions? Is it not almost inconceivable that we should have such a kitchen in this building—a kitchen which is so badly planned and which contains such few facilities for ensuring that food is served under good health conditions? Will he not ask the Minister of Works for these improvements to be made at once in the interests of the people who work there and of hon. Members?

Sir H. Butcher

I do not dissent from anything which the hon. Lady has said. The only thing which I would draw to the attention of the House is the fact that the question of alterations there would impose a substantial financial burden on the Estimates. I hope very much that the remarks the hon. Lady has just made will be noted by the Minister of Public Building and Works and others so that the matter may be included, without doubt, in the next set of Estimates. I would add that the physical difficulties in terms of plumbing are such that the alterations could be made only during the long Summer Recess.

Mrs. Braddock

Does the hon. Member for Holland with Boston realise that if this Palace were subjected to the ordinary health laws and inspection by a medical officer of health, the requirements mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, North (Mrs. Slater) would have compelled this work to have been done? In view of these conditions—the very dreadful conditions whereby we have bins in the room where dishes are being washed, and refuse stands there through the whole of the day and is emptied only on occasions during the day—will the hon. Member not consider putting his foot down on this matter to get something done in the interests of health and hon. Members?

Sir H. Butcher

It is easy for the hon. Lady to say that I should put my foot down, but I do not know where that would get me. I would prefer making proper representations through the authorities of the House to the Minister of Public Building and Works and, for my part, I am grateful to the two hon. Ladies for having drawn attention to matters which have been closely in the knowledge of the Kitchen Committee for some time.

Dame Irene Ward

Would it be of assistance to my hon. Friend the Member for Holland with Boston, since he does not seem to have been really very effective with the Minister of Public Building and Works, if I asked Mr. Speaker if we could adjourn the House so that we might accompany my hon. Friend to see the Minister on the subject?

Mr. Speaker

If the hon. Lady wants to know the effect on me of certain representations, then the channel of appeal should not be through the Chairman of the Kitchen Committee.

Percentage Rates*
Date Men Women Boys Girls
Male Female
18th June, 1962 882 975 78 86 2.4 5.9
16th July, 1962 915 1,005 45 74 2.4 6.0
13th August, 1962 939 982 211 194 2.8 6.5
10th September, 1962 985 1,018 169 175 2.9 6.6
15th October, 1962 1,026 1,089 105 114 2.8 6.6
12th November, 1962 1,082 1,118 102 110 2.9 6.8
10th December, 1962 1,129 1,133 82 97 3.0 6.8
12th June, 1961 652 796 20 31 1.7 4.6
10th July, 1961 672 776 12 31 1.7 4.5
14th August, 1961 695 783 182 112 2.2 4.9
11th September, 1961 737 874 45 46 1.9 5.1
16th October, 1961 755 868 24 31 1.9 5.0
13th November, 1961 735 908 26 34 1.9 5.2
11th December, 1961 761 888 14 26 1.9 5.0
* Percentage rates of unemployment are given for males and females as rates cannot be calculated separately for men, boys, women and girls.
66. Mr. Spriggs

asked the Minister of Labour how many registered disabled unemployed workers have been out of work for more than 12 months in the St. Helens area; if he is satisfied with the percentage of disabled persons taken by employers from the register of unemployed disabled persons; whether he is satisfied with the methods used by employers to take the requisite quota of disabled persons within their own particular industries; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Whitelaw

On 29th November, 166 registered disabled persons had been

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