Oral Answers to Questions — Food Supplies – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 14th December 1949.
asked the Minister of Food whether he is aware that his food executive officer informed the Aldenham Lodge Hotel Limited, that all applicants for house-charge licences must be in a position to prove that their business did, in fact, function before the war, and that the charge for a meal during the 12 months prior to September, 1939, was more than 5s. 6d.; and whether, in view of the licence he has granted to the Government Hospitality Centre in Park Street, he will now reconsider the application of Aldenham Lodge Hotel Limited for a similar licence.
We have made exceptions to the normal rules in a few very special cases, of which the Government Hospitality Centre was one, but I can see no reason for doing so in this case.
Surely, that is a different reply from the one which the right hon. Lady gave on this very question last week, when we were told that there was no hard and fast rule about whether an hotel had been operating in the previous year? Will the right hon. Lady look at her reply and compare it with that of the Minister, and, in view of the discrepancy, allow this hotel to re-apply?
I do not think so. I think the reply of my right hon. Friend and my own reply are quite consistent. We do exercise our discretion, and we did not think it necessary to exercise that discretion in this case.
Is the right hon. Lady aware that, in reply to a speech made from this bench on the Estimates for the Government Hospitality Centre, either the Minister or the right hon. Lady stated that it was alternative accommodation? Why is she attempting to compete in this way with private enterprise?
Since it is now 1949 and it will shortly be 1950, can the Minister give us any indication when, in this and a number of other fields, we shall get away from the monopoly of the 1939-ers?
Will the right hon. Lady make it quite clear that this rule about operating before the war, and of having had a charge of 5s. 6d. before the war, does not operate any longer?
In most cases, it does. We have to exercise our discretion in some cases.