asked the Home Secretary whether, in view of the remarks of the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis in his Report in regard to clubs, he will state the number of new clubs registered since the commencement of the war; whether he is aware that licensed houses generally are experiencing great difficulty in obtaining sufficient supplies of excise-able liquors to meet the requirements of their customers, many of whom are members of the forces or otherwise engaged in the war effort; and whether he will take steps, by means of a special order or otherwise, to restrict the registration of new clubs during the remainder of the war?
Between 1st September, 1939, and 30th April, 1941, 854 new clubs were registered in the Metropolitan Police District and 1,194 ceased to exist or were struck off the register, resulting in a net decrease of 340. The figures for the whole country are not at present available. I am aware that there has been some difficulty in certain areas in obtaining supplies of beer, but I understand that such delays as have occurred were of a temporary character, and I have no evidence to suggest that the legislation which would be necessary to give effect to my hon. Friend's proposal would be justified.