HL Deb 28 November 1951 vol 174 c546

2.38 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask His Majesty's Government whether they have under consideration the anomalies resulting from the Catering Wages Act, 1943, with a view to the introduction of amending legislation, if necessary.]


My Lords, my noble friend the Leader of the House is unable to be present here to-day and asks me to make his apologies. I have been asked to reply on his behalf to this Question. My right honourable friend the Minister of Labour and National Service is waiting to hear further from the Catering Wages Commission on certain questions arising out of their Report on the operation of the Act in the hotel industry, and will then review the matters involved.


My Lords, while thanking my noble friend for his reply, I should like to ask His Majesty's Government to remember that the matter is now one of extreme urgency. All over the country at the moment, clubs, small hotels and boarding houses are up for sale, and there are no buyers. Moreover, seasonal unemployment is rising rapidly.


My Lords, may we have an assurance from the noble Earl that the questions raised by my noble friend Lord Derwent will really be considered. In view of the fact that over 600 hotels between the English Channel and the Scottish Border are on the point of closing, this seems to be a matter of great urgency. The operation of this Act is killing both hotels and clubs.


My Lords, are not matters under the Catering Wages Act decided between the two sides of the industry; and, therefore, will it not be their business to see that satisfactory arrangements are made?


My Lords, I agree.