Hotel and Restaurant Meals (Charges).

Oral Answers to Questions — Food Supplies – in the House of Commons on 11th September 1942.

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Photo of Major Abraham Lyons Major Abraham Lyons , Leicester East

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food, what control is exercised over those restaurants and the like who have no permission to charge any premium where the former and lower price for meals has been increased to 5s. since the advent of the order limiting the amount of food to be supplied.

Photo of Mr William Mabane Mr William Mabane , Huddersfield

Restaurants commit an offence against the Meals in Establishments Order if they make, or demand, any unreasonable charge in connection with the supplying of any meal, and certain alleged offences of this kind are under consideration by the Department at the present time. Persons who consider that an establishment has raised its prices unnecessarily can cease to patronise it, but there would not appear to be any justification for embarking upon further measures of control in this direction.

Photo of Major Abraham Lyons Major Abraham Lyons , Leicester East

Has my hon. Friend made any attempt at all to check the restaurants which charged the lower price and are now charging the higher price and blaming the Ministry of Food for giving them an opportunity to start the racket?

Photo of Mr William Mabane Mr William Mabane , Huddersfield

I have examined personally all the complaints we have received, and I have not found one specific complaint of the character the hon. and gallant Gentleman suggests. I asked him if he would supply me with any information he might have, and he has not yet done so.

Photo of Major Abraham Lyons Major Abraham Lyons , Leicester East

On a point of Order. May I make a personal explanation? This request only reached me in the House on Wednesday, and I spoke to the hon. Gentleman's Secretary about it on the telephone yesterday.

Photo of Major Abraham Lyons Major Abraham Lyons , Leicester East

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether in view of the failure of the schemes to restrict the cost of limited meals at restaurants and the like, by the allowance of other permitted charges, he will arrange that no order be made which effects the imposition of a premium charge upon the sale of foodstuffs without prior discussion in Parliament, so that present anomalies may not be perpetuated?

Photo of Mr William Mabane Mr William Mabane , Huddersfield

My noble Friend cannot accept the suggestion of my hon. and gallant Friend, and he sees no reason to propose any variation in the procedure approved by Parliament for the making of Statutory Rules and Orders under the Defence (General) Regulations, 1939.

Photo of Major Abraham Lyons Major Abraham Lyons , Leicester East

As this ill-considered scheme proved a failure, and the amendments to it seem fated to do likewise by their very nature, will the hon. Member consider some steps to alter this decision, whereby we are presented with an Order without being able to discuss it?