HC Deb 15 March 1946 vol 420 cc271-3W
Squadron-Leader Kinghorn

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is now in a position to make a further statement about plans for giving some assistance in the re-equipment of hotels, boarding-houses and holiday camps.

Sir S. Cripps

Yes, Sir. The Government attach much importance to the pro- vision this year of as much holiday accommodation as possible. Hon. Members will appreciate, however, that the goods most needed by hotels, boarding houses and holiday camps are precisely those in the greatest demand by the domestic consumer. For this reason I emphasised in my reply to the hon. and gallant Members for Flint (Lieut.-Colonel Birch) and Horncastle (Commander Maitland) on nth February and to the hon. Member for Rugby (Mr. W. J. Brown) on 25m February that we should only be able to consider the minimum needs of establishments having priority claims. After discussion with the main hotel trade associations, namely, the Hotels and Restaurants Association and the Residential Hotel Association, and also with the National federation of Permanent Holiday Camps, I have decided that the fairest arrangement will be to give first preference to establishments with equipment damaged be enemy action and second preference to establishments lacking equipment as the result of requisitioning, subject in both cases to the proviso that, from a structural point of view, they should be in a position to open by 31st July, 1946; The associations have been asked for estimates of the supplies needed to meet the claims of priority establishments among their own members and when this information is available it will give us a clearer picture of the needs of the industry as a whole. The National Federation of Holiday Camps have already supplied us with figures covering their membership and we are now waiting for similar details from the Hotel and Restaurants Association and the Residential Hotels Association. In the meantime the position on supplies is that there are available outside the rationing scheme certain quantities of metal, plastic and other non-wooden furniture. In addition, the Board of Trade are arranging for the import of some medium grade furniture suitable for hotel use. Textiles present particular difficulties and the most we can hope to divert to these priority hotels during the next four months is 25,000 mattresses, 100,000 sheets and 75,000 blankets. Of this latter figure we expect that 50,000 will be drawn from Government surplus and the remaining 25,000 from new production. As regards the other goods needed by hotels, I am afraid I am unable to make any special arrangements. Many of them, such as carpets, crockery and glassware, although still scarce, are unrationed; and other goods, for instance linoleum and curtain materials, are only partially reserved for the domestic priority classes. Proprietors of hotel and other establishments having claims for consideration under this scheme should, if they have not already done so, apply to whichever of the three associations I have mentioned is appropriate, giving full details of their circumstances.