HL Deb 03 June 1942 vol 123 cc111-2

My Lords, I beg to ask the question standing in my name on the Paper.

[The question was as follows:

To ask His Majesty's Government whether, with a view to further saving of shipping space, they propose to reissue the Order of 30th April, 1941, subsequently cancelled, prohibiting serving sugar with beverages in restaurants, and if not whether they will state the reasons justifying the forgoing of this means of saving sugar imports and/or consumption.]


My Lords, I do not propose to prohibit the service of sugar with beverages in restaurants at the present time. In view of the important part that catering establishments are playing in feeding the population it has been my policy to maintain their supplies of rationed foods as nearly as possible on a parity with those of the domestic consumer. While catering establishments will share in any general reduction that may be necessary, I see no reason at present to single them out for a special restriction which could only effect a saving of sugar that would be insignificant in comparison with the total consumption. It would be particularly undesirable, I think, to deprive works canteens of the ability to serve sugar with beverages, nor would it be desirable to deny sugar to permanent residents in hotels.

I think the noble Lord may like to know that the reason why I did not bring the Order to which he has referred into force was that I found that if I did I should have to deprive the canteens of sugar, and I thought it was going to be rather a hardship on working men to have to carry with them little bits of saccharine which they would not be able to handle. I avoid as far as possible imposing upon the public minor irritations, and I am quite confident that the relatively small saving of shipping space which would be secured by a restriction of this kind would not compensate for the dissatisfaction which would be caused among a wide and representative section of the community. I do not propose at the present time to re-issue the Order.


My Lords, I would like to thank the noble Lord for his reply and especially for the assurance he has given that the amount of sugar which would be saved by the suggested restriction would be small. The question arose owing to perplexity concerning the original suggestion which was subsequently withdrawn. The Minister has now explained why the restriction would have no appreciable effect in improving the shipping position.