asked the Minister of Labour (1) whether he is aware of the dissatisfaction of small private caterers and café proprietors in the North of England who are faced with competition from British Restaurants and are unable like the latter to obtain the protection of the Essential Work (General Provisions) Order; and whether he will arrange that the same conditions of deferment are applied to all sections of the catering trade whether operated by the Government or by local authorities; and
(2) whether British Restaurants are protected establishments under the Essential Work Order; and whether they are in a more favourable position so far as the reservation from military services of their staff is concerned than owners of small private cafés and restaurants?
Catering establishments of local authorities were recently brought within the field of the Essential Work (General Provisions) Orders, on the recommendation of the Ministry of Food, after consultation with representatives of employers and employed with regard to conditions of service and otherwise. No similar representations have been made to me with respect to the catering trade generally.
Will the right hon. Gentleman consider an application from the catering trade as a whole, so that their men can be given the same treatment as those in British Restaurants?
I am willing to consider an application, but I would remind my hon. and gallant Friend that the basis of the Essential Work Order is to tie people to their jobs, and I have to have a knowledge of the rates and conditions to which I have to direct them.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that many of the allegations from the catering trade regarding competition from British Restaurants are fantastic, and, further, that most of the success of good British Restaurants is due to voluntary service on the part of women?